Title: Madonna Covid Year: 2022 Materials: Watercolours, colour pencils, pastels on paper Size: 33x24cm
My illustration depicts Madonna, one of the most important symbols of Catholicism, as a virus infecting humanity that must be annihilated. Religion, for me, holds a negative connotation since it makes the world go backwards rather than forward.
In the Catholic religion, Madonna is venerated as the faithful, pure, saintly mother. She connects God with humans and creates, especially for women, an abstract patriarchal figure to imitate and submit to. She is a virgin, she hardly ever speaks, she does not work, she only frequents other women or relatives, and she lives just for her husband and child. She is put on a pedestal as a perfect role model for other aspiring religious women.
I paint such godly figures in a critical light because of the hypocrisy and false ideology that Catholicism (and the behaviour of many of its followers, including ecclesiastics) forces on me. This ideology is mainly premised on a man, who existed 2000 years ago, and subsequently rose from the dead as a child of God, giving people false hope. Some of his followers believe that if they become devout Christians, they can also rise again and achieve immortality. All of this is simply absurd to me. It is a clever way to keep the poor oppressed and docile, because in some way, they are guaranteed a better life after this one – made of slavery and injustice.
Any religious society is problematic because it creates inequalities between people, elevates those who profess it to the detriment of those who criticise it and do not choose to be a part of it. Social networks are linked to the economy, religion and politics and create exchanges of favours. Case in point being the the scandals of the Catholic Church. Being religious doesn’t mean being a good person, or having ethics. You can be devoted to Jesus like a saint and kill people very well, like the mafia here in Italy.
Mariaceleste is an artist from Italy. She likes working with digital techniques to create both figurative and abstract works. She likes to experiment with different mediums to highlight her inner world – the war that burns inside her head. Her work borders on the edge of surreal, absurd, and grotesque.