Monday, November 7, 2005


This is a goofy project I've been working on since I landed in Kottayam. Churches dot the town, and, moreover, it is quite common to see Jesus (or Mary, but sadly no Joseph) pop up on advertisements, fliers, and even transportation.

I've titled a Flickr set "Jesus Mobiles" and devoted it to all the manifestations our OUR LORD that can be viewed on local transportation. Enjoy some of my first images!

And oh yeah, lest it seems I am mocking these manifestations of the holy -- think again. I have an affinity for the quirky, as you must know, and I find these appropriations a particularly earnest way of affirming one's faith. Whereas in the west some might consider this practice idolatrous, it is my interpretation (generally following in the vein of Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India, a book on Hindu religious iconography by Diana L. Eck) that this is merely indicative of the importance placed upon image as essential to paying tribute to the god or gods, "or the visual perception of the sacred". Eck adds, "Beholding the image is an act of worship, and through the eyes one gains the blessings of the divine."

Not being a scholar of the Hindu religion, I can't affirm or disavow this interpretation, but Eck's book has encouraged me to explore religious iconography in India. And, in this "globalizing" (whatever) world, it's interesting to see how a tradition is adapted to modern technology.

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