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Omran, Angels Are Here! 60” X 48” ©2016 Oil on Canvas
The suffering of innocent children during the senseless and selfish actions of war was the impetus for me to paint this 48" X 60" oil on canvas painting, Omran, Angels Are Here!
Several months ago I became obsessed with the news image of the little five year old boy, Omran Daqneesh, in Aleppo, Syria, who had been pulled out of the rubble of a bombed building and placed, bleeding, alone and forlorn, on an ambulance seat. His hopeless, dazed, vacant expression haunted me. The blood dripping down the side of his face onto his shirt repulsed me. I felt powerless as I longed to reach out and comfort him. The idea of somehow sending "angels" to attend to him and be by his side came into my mind's eye, and I knew that I needed to "speak" with my painting ability to share these feelings and bring angels to comfort Omran.
The depiction of angels interacting with humans has been used throughout art history. I am grateful for the work of Andrei Rublev and William Bouguereau for details and inspiration in helping me find the right note for the angel images in this work. Painting this was the only way I felt empowered in the face of such insane world events.
I used a representative/realistic contemporary figurative style to show Omran on the ambulance seat, surrounding him with angel depictions from the 15th and 19th centuries. The visual energy derived from the hot red seat behind Omran, the classical blue, green, red and yellow colors of angels and background and the composition combining historical religious imagery with a contemporary subject, lends this painting a particularly icon-like feeling while speaking about a most horrendous recent event. Bridging the cultural/religious divide by also including "peace be with you," and "hope, joy and peace" written in Arabic, English and Latin on the angel halos as part of this work also expresses my desire to bring peace and comfort to Omran, and those in harms way all over the world, no matter what language is spoken.