I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
In continuing with my streak of alternative cultural depictions of Mary and Jesus, here is “Madonna and Child as Vietnamese”! This one was inspired by my recent trip to Vietnam, where I celebrated Christmas with my family and many faithful locals.
I could have gone for a more regal look, a la the famed images of Our Lady of La Vang:
But I thought I’d portray a different side, focusing more on her intimate, maternal love for Jesus. At the same time, to retain that sense reverence, I deliberately left lines unfinished to convey a sense of timelessness and eternity. Let me know what you think! 🙂
I recently began creating non-traditional depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. And by “non-traditional”, I mean non-European. Below is an Indian and Japanese depiction respectively. I got plenty of inspiration from images I saw online, and then added my own spin. Both are hand-drawn with Micron pens.
Just to be clear, I’m not creating these alternative cultural depictions to be gimmicky.
I have a deep, personal appreciation for such images because they have helped me better grasp the universality of our God and His plan for mankind. I am ethnically Chinese and grew up in Muslim-majority Indonesia. For years, I was subconsciously frustrated and estranged by singularly European depictions of Christian figures.
As my friend Christopher wisely said, it was healthy for Europeans to try to depict religious figures in terms familiar to their culture, but unfortunate that imperialism forced those depictions on the rest of the world.
I’m hoping to work on Chinese and Indonesian versions next, because of these cultures’ special closeness to my own heritage and identity. If you have any suggestions on other cultures you would like to see (some great suggestions I’ve received are Mongolian and Maori), do let me know!
I hope these images will be a blessing to your journey as they have been to my own. Have a wonderful Advent! 🙂