Art To Engage

523294_422759961119151_565631137_n
Marcia Carole, graphite on paper

Some of the art I create, does indeed tell a story. However, for the above piece, I am actually drawing to start a conversation – to engage the viewer into thinking, feeling, and responding on the soul level. Hopefully, discussion of the content of the piece, follows. This is a drawing I rendered so I might engage viewers to turn their attention to women trapped in the sex traffic industry and for discussing justice. Many glance at it and turn away quickly. Others look more carefully.

May I help you to look? I wanted to draw to show a tension that exists in these women’s lives – those caught in all forms of sexual enslavement. (This woman could be in the porn industry, prostitution, or an enslaved, unpaid worker. Her residence can be anywhere in the world, including your town. She is trapped because she has little or no income, owes money to her keeper, her john has her IDs, she is undereducated, ashamed of herself, often comes from an abusive home, and has no hope of escape to anything good.)

Here is the tension in my drawing. The classic high heels symbolize the idea of beauty, femininity and even womanly poise and power. However, there she is, slumped over in pain and despair. Her hands and wrists are locked together as if by an invisible, but certain, set of handcuffs. She is trapped. Her beauty cannot save her. Her beauty is being stolen night after night, until it is replaced with disease and despair.  She will need something stronger to save her – she will need many empathetic, selfless advocates: law enforcement, justice workers, rescue workers, care providers and yes, musicians to sing her story, writers to tell of her plight, and artistths. These artists will have to have the courage to draw or paint her story and help the viewers to engage. She will need community.

Will we just turn away from her plight, or will we engage in her story? Will we act in such a way that we show what she is enduring, at the hands of evil people, is truly evil? And must stop. Each of us has an important choice today. Will we support those who are fighting for these women; will we become one of those fighters? Organizations abound for each of us to work with, support, encourage and pray for, nationally and internationally. Use your gifts to fight. Connect with organizations like International Justice Mission, IJM, to see how you can get involved. Justice is possible. One important woman at a time.

P1070987
Marcia Carole, sketching a portrait of a prostitute in Thailand to extend worth and value to her, and share that Jesus loves her, and so time could be obtained for co-workers to invite these women out to a care center. This woman has hopes and dreams, like my daughters, and I want to help restore those hopes and dreams.

 

Our Redemption

P1090234
Our Redemption, Marcia Carole, graphite on paper

This is my drawing I continue to layer with graphite(pencil) year after year around Christmas. (As an artist, I am usually working on something for Christmas by Thanksgiving.) I’ve thought of making Christmas cards from the original, however, a bit of Biblical understanding is needed to appreciate the piece. May I give you a tour of my drawing?

According to Jewish law, Mary would have been required to bring a sin offering, after forty days, because of Jesus’ birth. You see, the command in Leviticus 12, in the Torah, is that a woman who bears a son must wait 40 days before she is considered pure. Then she can go to the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. In Luke 2:24, we read that she offered a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” This indicates they are a poor family, because the best possible sin offering was a lamb without spot or blemish.

P1090233

Even if you don’t know the Jewish laws, you can find clues to their situation in the drawing. I drew the turtledoves, ready to be offered, and I suggested their poverty by the holes in their clothing.

P1090233

Also in the drawing, we see Joseph with five shekels of silver. God, in the Torah, had said first-born sons belonged to Him – to serve Him. Then, at a later point in history, one tribe (Levites) of Israelites became priests to serve God in the temple, so the system of “buying” back the first-born son was instituted.

The parents of the firstborn males would come to the temple, and pay five shekels of silver to the Levites for their son, in a sense, buying their firstborn son back from the temple service. And the Levites would take this money and buy the things they needed to live and serve in the temple.

P1090233

What is most important to me is this: Joseph and Mary had the items, turtledoves, coins, they needed to redeem Jesus and cover their sin. However, they were actually holding their eternal redemption, and yours and mine, as they held Jesus. Do you see the irony? Jesus had to be redeemed, yet, Jesus has come to redeem the world. Our Redemption!

Luke 2:22-23 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)