When I see the latest ad-cover for a film, or an album cover-design of recognition, I often give it a silent nod in response. A nod of knowledge, because out-there to the public rude as it may be, out-there I behold a mark of the product that is in promotion, and this is culture. We, inner-city folk like to call this -“representing the scene.” Down in S.London.
Unconscious and consciously I feel convicted to react or relate what is seen to something I have experienced or someone I have heard experience what relates to what we see in these ad-covers and designs. As I have said this is consumer-interaction, its culture.
Now when I see Christian art Christian representation of the apostolic times you know the type of medieval painted fashion with which the “Orthodox Church” surrounds itself and which also has been accepted as the standard artistic portrayal of Christian themes and characters worldwide. Whether its in pamphlets or in buildings this type of impression of the saints life, when I see this sort faith-based representation thrown my way I can’t help but say that I feel… well I don’t know what to feel, in fact I don’t what I am expected to feel, and who expects me to feel the way I am suppose to.
Okay some may accept these Christian-themed images because they seem so standard and recognised. So that I should feel from the image what tones it sets of the subject. But what can I feel from what I get? If its Saint -Jerome by the cave, I should feel from the image what I know of St. Jerome, correct? Or better, if its St. Peter and John by the temple as described in “acts”, then I should feel from the image their miracles described in the acts of the apostles, correct? And that from this I should altogether be convicted with passion and a higher sense of awareness with the brother-and-sisterhood of Christianity, correct? Not so in this case.
I must personally admit that with me this is not the case, very far from it in fact. The result of what I feel is not an attraction to the subject as such, but more of a little sting of disaffection, quite alienating altogether so to speak. I do not feel the warmth to my faith-related subjects in its art-forms the same way I do to cultural products in promotions, and the icon that represent those products. I could say that I feel disaffection pretty much for most -medieval art- anyway, but a lot of what they painted then, that has become the standard now mostly have to do with Christ or gospels. Some who painted were not even believers but painted faith-related subjects as an interest, I certainly hope not for the “heck” of it. The fact is that if medieval fashion in art was popular art and culture back then, hasn’t popular art moved on since in relation to the popular culture of today? But as far as Christian-faiths are concerned the medieval fashion of art still remains the same, those same icons and representation we take as grounded are still the ones used to portray and seek emotions within us believers of now, which I feel is disaffecting or distancing me.
Now I am a believer in what was spoken in the Gospels and by the prophets of God. I want to be as a much of follower of the Christian way as I will, but when I see that image of Him on the cross it pains me to admit it, (if I feel this then the All-Knowing God must also know too), that I can’t help but not share in the passion of His sacrifice on seeing Him portrayed on that cross. Inside me convictions are lost, and there is no impact when I see it the way I feel there should be. And I leave asking what does the image of him on that cross have to do with me, if I can’t feel anything or the Christ in me remains silent when I see it?
Because let’s admit it, if I were to be given a pamphlet or a message from a Christian what is normally the first thing I see? The image.
I am bewildered and hope that this is not what other believers feel when they view His sacrifice for all mankind in this image-based world.
Peace, from a Prisoner of Consciencern