I Pray that Generations . . .

July 16 th 2010

Linoleum cut on paper
36" x 37"
2006

The piece "I Pray that Generations . . ." is part of a series entitled Urban Epistles. Urban Epistles is a series of large scaled linoleum cuts and drawings that addresses various social, ethnic, racial, and modern moral dilemmas in our society and the world abroad. The work is timely, dealing with several recent and past historical events. I utilize a method of visual communication similar to the old cathedral stained glass windows that transmitted the biblical stories through icons. Ultimately I create a visual text that one may read like an open letter.

This piece represents the significance of an individual's relationship to past, present, and future generations. When God speaks to Rebekah before she gives birth to Esau and Jacob, He says, "Two nations are in thy womb..." This particular scripture shows the potential of our children to bear children, who beget children, until generations later, nations are founded from twin brothers who shared the space of one woman's womb.

As if to underscore the significance of genealogical lines, long lists of lineages flow from chapter to chapter recording the children of Abraham and their sons. I concluded from these deliberate listings of generations that bloodlines are important to God.

God's concern for mankind operates from a micro to the macro level. We see this concern when Cain offers Able as an unrighteous sacrifice. God hears Able's blood cry out from the ground after he dies by the murderous hands of his brother. In this unholy moment, Able destroys his brother's bloodline and cuts off the potential for future generations.

These scriptural references are the foundation of my art piece. The image shows a woman with a stoic look upon her face, wearing a large hat. The hat suggests that she is a sojourner. Each element in the composition-the hat, hair, face, and torso-is made up of multiple bodies. The more one looks, the more figures are revealed. Each person has generations built into them, which is a conglomeration of cells, blood, genes, history, spirit, and soul. Interspersed throughout the composition are fishhooks, which symbolically represent that we are all 'fishers of men' and we are charged to make meaningful connections with our brothers and sisters.

In the bottom right of the composition I placed a postage stamp of a butterfly which suggests the transformation and evolution of the human body from the womb to birth. Regardless of our status as biological parents, we affect lives through our actions for generations. Ultimately, the piece beckons us to be accountable for our actions because we have the power to speak-life or death; I pray that we choose life.

Topics: Arts
 

Steve A. Prince is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and currently resides in Hampton, Virginia. He received his BFA in Fine Arts in 1991 from Xavier University of Louisiana and his MFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from Michigan State University.

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