The Three Semites

Ceiling paintings, Fusion paintings

Work on the third panel is proceeding. The three figures are beginning to find their character. The Rabbi has appeared in a very rudimentary form, beneath the picture of the tower of David.

I have been looking for comparable motifs from each religious tradition that may represent their common sense of the one God, the primal and sole source of creation. I have divided the region behind the three figures into three circles where I will develop this idea. Already I have drawn the star of David, used on the Israeli flag, behind the Rabbi. There are more profound reasons for using this image than the flag. I have been loaned an interesting treatise on the ‘Caballa’, a Jewish mystical practise of great complexity that is linked to the Tarot.

I will get some more details on this interesting area and post them later.

Behind the priest I will paint a rose window with some reference to the idea of three in one as an expression of the godhead, a contradiction in terms one might think, except that the whole complex understanding is based on the subtlety of early Greek theologians (many of whom had been gnostic philosophers) in their wordplay.

Behind the mullah or ayatollah, I haven’t decided yet, I will paint the kind of pattern to be seen inside the dome of a mosque, full of abstract and complex pattern. I will refer to the rich blues of the earthenware tile with which the dome is clad.

I hope in this way to explore the transmuting conception of the same monotheistic idea through the three distinctive cultures. I like the idea also of associating the religious theme of a halo which bestows a prestige of sanctity on the figures.

I intend to introduce text into the complexity of their clothing, using hebrew, greek and arabic characters, drawing from passages that are shared by all three religions. This hebrew alone on the rabbi, greek and hebrew on the priest and arabic and hebrew on the muslin, to reflect the degree the holy texts share common derivatives. On this basis I originally thought there would be no greek on the muslim, but I find there is a lot of reference to Mary, Zachariah, Ann and Jesus in the Koran, so I suppose that reflects early Christian influence on the new religion.

It is interesting to search for commonality in the three sacred texts. The story of Genesis, the creation story of the semites, they all largely agree, although the story is not told as a narrative like the pentateuch version but referred to in many places. The story of Noah is common to all three. Moses is the most referred to character in the Koran, The enslavement in Egypt, the confrontation between Pharoah and Moses, the meeting with God on mount Sinai, the annunciation of Mary, the childhood and teachings of Jesus, are all there in common.

In some way I want the panel to reflect and explore these commonalities.

Likewise I intend to paint accompanying images which refer to these narratives. In some cases, like the story of the flood, the narratives are far older than any of the semitic traditions and can be found in multiple places (often in cuneiform tablets) dotted around mesopotamia and beyond. Wherever I can I will look for early carvings or representation of these stories, to link with their antiquity, as a reference for the image that will be portrayed in the painting.

So watch this space, it all might change………………..