QUEEN ESTHER MOSAICS SERIES ----Lilian Broca
Artist Statement Esther Mosaic Series
One tessera at a time, painstaking, laborious, such is the truth of mosaic art. Opus Veritas.
- Massimiliano Salviati
- Massimiliano Salviati
Throughout my career I have explored relationships and the nature of the human condition through symbols and metaphors. The Queen Esther Series deals with sacrifice and I chose the biblical Queen Esther as a prototype for the courageous, selfless heroine who wins against all odds. As a young woman, Esther fulfilled her role as leader at a time of crisis with intelligence, persistence and dedication. Today we view her as a role model and as such, she contributes significantly to the status of women in society.
The bright, seductive colours of Venetian glass and smalti I used in creating mosaics many years ago, suddenly beckoned me. The coincidental fact that mosaics were first mentioned in the biblical Book of Esther (within the description of King Ahasuerus’s palace) contributed to my decision to further explore this unique art form. In our present Post-Modernist society executing the Esther Series in an ancient method with added contemporary symbolism seems most appropriate.
Esther exemplifies the theme of sacrifice. She was totally disinterested in becoming a candidate to be crowned Queen, and the text emphasizes that she was taken to the palace against her will. Like all obedient women of antiquity, Esther complied with given instructions and continued doing her uncle Mordechai’s bidding, even after being crowned Queen.
As Queen of Persia, Esther was as inferior in status as any other woman. Her life at court was luxurious, but since she was completely isolated in the King's harem amongst women of a different culture and customs, she must have felt lonely and sad. Esther first sacrificed her maidenhood; later she was obliged to put her life at risk when ordered to go before King Khashayarsha (without the King’s permission) and reveal the treacherous plans Haman had designed without the King’s knowledge. She knew the danger to her was great and immediate, for anyone who approached the court uninvited was liable to be condemned to death. She wisely designed a plan in which she played King Khashayarsha (aka Xerxes, Ahasuerus, and Ahashverosh) and evil Haman against each other. It is my intent to portray Esther as a glorious winner, despite all the demands and sacrifices required of her in a patriarchal culture of antiquity.
I use the Byzantine Style of creating mosaics; after sketching numerous ideas I paint the final choice as a guide. These designs are created in reverse as mirror images that later get transferred to the panel used as the final substrate. Looking at and following the painted design I then cut Venetian glass tesserae imported from Italy into tiny pieces and glue them on a temporary surface of brown paper the same size as the final mosaic panel. Smalto glass, a combination of opaque glass and enamel, is also being used along with 24 carat gold sandwiched between two thin layers of transparent glass. Four or five shades of each colour are employed to enhance the visual effect; the surface itself becomes a field of attention and more emphatic in its overall unity. Figure and ground merge into one another.
In a successful mosaic, the manner of the laying of tesserae and the intended image must function interdependently; each individual piece of glass retains its individual identity yet the eye assimilates the pieces into a whole image. This is very different from my previous body of work - paintings and drawings - where the medium was subservient to the image. The mosaics' dramatic subject matter emotive with vibrant colours though laid out in an orderly and rational fashion, are the type of artworks that reflect the present stage in my artistic development.
The gallery : http://www.lilianbroca.com/index.php/mosaics-gallery.php