Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Archangel Raphael

Archangel Raphael, mixed media, 57 cm x 36 cm x 30 cm

Another figure in my Munecos Santos , (holy dolls), body of work. I have already created Michael and Gabriel, ( see the gallery section of my website for images, www.diddy-wa-diddy.com). Last fall I began research and creation of Raphael. A local photo journalist asked if he could document this process from start to finish and then publish the article in the Landmark newspaper ( from Platte County, Missouri). We worked on this project through the fall and winter. You can read Bill Hankin's article on my website. You can read the nitty gritty background part of the materials I use within this article. What is not in this article is the "words " that I write to accompany the figure. Part of these words are hand embroidered on the nuclear waste symbol shaped doily that drapes over the nuclear waste canister ( not a real one....) that Raphael stands upon. My intention is to create a handmade book this summer that contains all of my "words". I was inspired by passages in the Bible, the Koran , the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Enoch in researching historic information about Raphael and his "job" here on earth.

Archangel Raphael. Feast day 24 October. Intercessor of healing. traditional attributes- pilgrim's staff, fish, gourd, young man ( Tobit), dog, jar. typically depicted as beardless youth clothed in pilgrim's garb. updated attributes- red cross pilgrim's badge, staff transformed into brush to remind us to walk gently on Mother Earth sweeping away our traces and footprints, nuclear waste canister, symbol, right hand raised in oration, silence, pay attention, become aware, one of the Watchers bringing succour to Mother Earth, coral ( from a dying sea) dangles from loros, one of Raphael's Byzantine imperial garments. In the book of Tobit, Raphael arrives as a disguised traveller called forth to aid Tobit's family. Tobit has lost his sight. Son Tobias peregrinates in the company of Azarius ( Raphael) to a faraway town where his father's confidant, Raguel resides. Along the path Raphael instructs Tobias to catch a fish which has curative powers both for Sarah and Tobit. Tobias meets, falls in love, and marries ( whom he has not met yet) Sarah, daughter of Raguel. Within the chapters of Noah and of the earthquake in the Koran, we reflect on what happens when a lack of awareness or disregard brings forth retribution. Book of Enoch, hidden for a thousand years safe in Ethiopia, resurfaced, freshly translated. A message within tells of the Watchers, of whom Raphael is one, observe carnage to Mother Earth and amongst the two-legged inhabitants. Raphael, bade forth to heal. In the Book of John, an angel ( Raphael) troubles the waters of Bethesda, a sheep pool. Enlightened beings cured of ailments suffered.
On each of the lobes of the doily are hand embroidered passages from the Bible, Koran, the Book of Enoch and the Book of Tobit.

"I did not know that there were sparrows in the wall above my head, their hot droppings fell into my eyes. This caused white spots to form, which I went to have treated by the doctors. But the more ointments they tried me with, the more spots blinded me, and in the end, I became completely blind." Book of Tobit

When the earth shall be shaken and the earth shall cast forth her burdens; and a man shall say, "What aileth her ?" And Raphael was sent to bring remedy. Chapter of the Earthquake

Raphael, one of the Watchers, " I have come to these parts to look for work." come to restore Earth? Stir the waters? Pull fingers from our ears? Or blow into our eyes, apply whale gall to remove film of ignorance. Or guard repositories of life and/or death.

Purify the earth from all oppression, from all injustice, from all crime, from all impiety, and from all pollution which is committed upon it. Exterminate them from the earth. Book of Enoch, chapter 10.

And a being stirred the waters but our fingers were in our ears, lack of awareness, and sonar testing muddled migration and plots of Arctic Sea were auctioned and trawling nets shattered thousands of years of growth and more beings became endangered and drilling into Mother Earth continued to extract , to conceal, to guard. And our fingers probed deeper in our ears and the film over our eyes grew thicker.

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