Monday, June 15, 2009
The Light of a Child
My sisters and I visited the Phoenix Art Museum, and I was drawn to this painting. (I forgot to note the artist's name and will credit the painting as soon as possible.)
The image of mother and child is universal. The Madonna and Child is the image I see most frequently in my experience, likely because I recognize the figures, because of my religious background. Though, every culture that you might explore will have this image as a prominent feature in their Art, both Folk Art and High Art.
As I studied this "Mother and Child" painting, I noted that the light of the child is where my eye is drawn. And my mother's heart and mind rest in there. I note this darkness that seems to be hung around the mother. I find it meaningful that where the light emanates seems ambiguous. Does it come from the child? Or the mother? The brightest light is found at the center of the child, but that light blends with the body of the mother and so, to use a not very pretty analogy, it's like a flashlight. The light comes from the flashlight, but the brightest light you see is where you aim the beam, the flashlight itself remains dark. (Yeah, I know that ruins the beauty of the painting. Sorry.) Or perhaps the child is the light and it permeates the mother's body and becomes part of her.
As I study this light of a child, I see the painting transform to fit my experience as a bereaved mother. I envision another painting like this one, hung to the right of the original, with the same mother and the same light. Only in this painting, the child is gone. The light of my child has permeated my body, mind, and soul and though I no longer hold her in my arms, I know that light. I have not forgotten. I still love. I am still a mother.