Cover Art — March-April, 2017

Crucifixion

Artist: Rina Coetzee
(South Africa, Contemporary)
Interpreter: Mona Bagasao-Cave
Cover photo courtesy of Dr. Carin van Schalkwyk. © 2010 Rina Coetzee. Prints of cover art are available from prints@webgrafika.co.za

I’ve seen it before: Christ’s tortured body on the cross, silhouetted against a roiling sky. The crucifixion was an event outside human understanding, but often rendered in agonizingly human terms: loneliness, pain, defeat. Artist Rina Coetzee offers another perspective on this event — capturing the cosmic nature of Jesus’ death — condensing time and space to remind us that this is more than the man Jesus hanging on the cross. This is the God of Creation who became human and lived among us. Coetzee’s Jesus hangs on a tree. Is this the Tree of Life re-imaged, reminding us of the new life we have in Christ? The tree is set against circles of blue, white, and yellow — earth, sea, sky, and light. The colors rise above a conflagration of red and black like Creation rising above primordial chaos. The circles also form a target, as if from the very beginning Jesus’ death was at the center of what would come. Below, just out of the frame, is the empty tomb. The tomb reminds us that even in the darkness of death, a hint of light — of hope — is there, the hope of a new future and what is yet to come. Future and past intersect at the Tree, connected through the God whose love is the promise of our past, our future, our now.