Date rendered: 2007
“This work: “Divine Love” is a devotional work of Catholic art. It is located in the floor of the Atrium at Holy Cross Catholic Academy in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. Bronze. 12’ diameter. 2007.
This faith-based sculpture represents a truly collaborative effort between many groups and individuals. The support of Principal Lucien Rotino allowed this project to take place. The progressive vision of Art Department Head Mr. Joseph Swanek saw the creation of a permanent art work that involved top art students from the Academy. The grade 12 art students from the year 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 carved out their individual sections of this massive and complicated relief sculpture, which they themselves had designed under instruction according to the theme and images of the piece, the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross within the form of massive Monstrance. The financial support of the Knights of Columbus and Consumer Services allowed this work to be created within very stiff financial constraints. The enthusiasm of photography teacher Mrs. Nancy Stirpe and her students was essential in successfully documenting the project.
The principal artist on this work was Farhad Nargol-O’Neill. He suggested and visually interpreted the themes, designed the relief sculpture in its totality and in detail, guided the students in all aspects of their efforts to carve their individual sections, created the patina for the sculpture, and supervised the installation. The students themselves responded brilliantly to this opportunity, embracing the challenge and recognizing the privilege to be involved in the creation of something truly worthwhile, a permanent work of art which will continue to exist for many hundreds of years into the future as a progressive expression of our faith. On the subject of what it was like to work with the grade 12 students from both years, Nargol-O’Neill says: “…..rather, it was my privilege to work with them. Their positive energy, decency, maturity; their hope for the future and sense of fun has made this project, for me, a completely enjoyable experience. I am thrilled with the result, and am so very proud of the sterling work done by this amazing group of emerging artists”.
The sculpture itself resembles a massive Monstrance-that gilded vessel that contains the Blessed Sacrament. The artist designed this sculpture by making Symbol and Placement the essential tools of construction. The middle section was created by the students from the 2006/2007 year. Where the Host would be located, in the centre of the Monstrance, is a depiction of the Stations of the Cross. The Passion, with Christ Triumphant at its centre, takes the place of Eucharist. The students of years 2007/2008 created the outer portion of this work. The numerous reliefs which radiate out from the central circular section recognize and depict the essential Feminine in our Faith, vis a vis the Virgin Mary and the Rosary. Each section of this outer layer depicts a scene from all Four Mystery’s of the Rosary. Therefore, all the experiences of our Blessed Mother radiate out from, and surround, the experiences of the Passion; just as Mary kept and pondered so many things in her heart. The Feminine is at the heart of our faith. This sculpture is a tool for reflection on two of the major aspects and spiritual exercises of Catholicism. Simultaneously, a progressive understanding of religion has been entered into the theme of this outer section by a reflection upon Environmental concerns. Images that pertain to the environment and environmentalism can be found in many of the pictures that illustrate the various mysteries of the Rosary. “Mother Earth”, whilst not confused with the person of Mary, still provides a wake up call for all Catholics who profess a concern for the earth. The choice of patina reflects the environmental influence, in the use of greens, clay reds, and browns-earth colours…. We in this Catholic art community find this a responsible interpretation and use of our religion in response to what is happening to the natural world today.
Farhad Nargol-O’Neill-Principal Artist
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