Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Forgiven - a theme for the Year of Mercy

Zero and I recently visited the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, to see the exhibition Unseen London (exhibition finishes on 31st July, so don't expect this link to work after then).

Zero's attention was caught by a painting displayed in the general exhibition at the gallery. It is called Forgiven and is by a painter called Thomas Faed.

The painting prompts a reflection that is very relevant to the theme of the Year of Mercy, as the commentary provided at the link above suggests.

How difficult was it for the young girl to return to her home with the baby? And might our families today make such a return so difficult that the daughter might instead seek an abortion? Are our families places of unqualified welcome to their members?

How can the shame of the girl who hides her face be a style of shame from which growth occurs rather than being the result of a stigmatisation by others that causes her harm? How do we understand a rightful idea of shame, and live it in our families and parishes?

What are we to make of the departure of the father from the scene, in contrast with the welcome to the baby being offered by the mother? When the young girl would appear to have been abandoned by the father of her baby, does not her own father receive a particular mission to demonstrate the love of a father?

I am caught by where light plays in the painting - the young girls hair, the baby and the arm of the mother, and the way in which the father has moved away from the light at the table.

Thomas Faed appears to have painted with a motif of "observing" what was there in a scene, which suggests a certain realist phenomenology in his work. If he allows his work to portray the "real" in the scene, then Forgiven would appear to be rich in ideas for catechetical use.

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