Parshat Chayei Sarah

Acrylic, pastel, Prismacolor and irredescent paint on parchment, 2015

Artist: Audrey Flack, USA

The more I think about it the more I realize how significant Sarah is as a female role model. We are all familiar with the image of Mary. She is a virgin, pure and suffering. Tears flow from her eyes and Spanish baroque artists paint daggers of pain piercing her heart. She is bejeweled, opulent, sad, accepting and the person to whom one goes for solace. If she is the mother of Jesus, and he looks Semitic, then Mary should look Semitic also, but artists have portrayed her looking very Christian European. I painted several versions of the Macarena Esperanza, one of which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is bejeweled, bedecked and torrents of tears pour down her cheeks. Without fully realizing it, I looked to her for solace when I was deeply grieved with concern for my autistic daughter. The tears she spilled were mine.

Why did I not go to Sarah or other Jewish matriarchs for comfort? Because she does not display her pain, fear and sorrow openly. Sarah is not quiet and demure nor is she a victim. Sarah has dark hair and a Semitic look and she is portrayed, as most of the matriarchs are, as strong and powerful, steady and in control. And while she is all of those things, with a deeper look, I now realize how much she had to endure in order to survive and how brave she was in handling her situation. And now I realize that I am more like Sarah. Like Sarah, I wept privately but I did not become a victim. I endured and survived.

About Audrey

Audrey Flack is an internationally recognized painter and sculptor and a pioneer of photorealism. Among the major museums around the world, her work resides in the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

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