Blessed Be The Infant Sarella

2015   140 x 127 cms  

I needed an angel for the Nativity painting of Darren and Shikana Hayes with their infant Sanella. I keep returning to the power of Caravaggio’s oeuvre and stripped the angel from his Seven Works of Mercy. Caravaggio’s focus is on the compassion and need of each other.

During the Black Death in Italy people failed to visit or help the sick, and avoided and betrayed even their own wives or husbands. Community failed; the collective disintegrated. In the folkloric Dance of Death, the rich man, the poor man and the king all stand alone before Death. Caravaggio's canvas suggests we are not alone if we have compassion for one another.

His paintings are are staffed by recognisable prostitutes, rent boys, and beggars. His own marginal existence is reflected in the dramatic optical style, all brightness and blackness.