“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:26,27)
This is one of the most known verses of the Bible. No matter your religion, the idea of a God creating mankind in his image and likeness has been reproduced across many cultures and art forms. But what does this really mean? Relax, I won't go into a long and boring religious dissertation, but just let me expand a little bit on this idea. Since I became conscious and built my own set of opinions and beliefs, I began to spot the inconsistencies, and the clash between the religion I was brought up to follow and scientific evidence.
It is surprising that Darwin's Theory of Evolution continues to shock people and even schools ban it from being taught and opt for Creationism. We know that human beings, particularly Homo Sapiens, evolved in Africa, and from there, they spread across the world. Now, taking all this into account, I turn my sights to the work of this artist who has also shocked the world. I ask myself, who said that God was a white old man with a beard? Easy. Michelangelo.
Since God created humans in his image, it’s kind of obvious to think that Michelangelo depicted him in the likeness of a European white man. His iconic Creation of Adam (c.1511) became the ultimate depiction of God we've all come to accept: the bearded, strong, white, old man.
Now, when artist Harmonia Rosales reinterpreted Michelangelo’s painting with black female characters, everyone had an opinion. While some applauded her boldness, others, of course, were offended by her new interpretation. When she unveiled her new creation on her official Instagram, the Afro-Latina artist wrote a very interesting caption: "The Creation of God ....we all are created in ‘God’s’ image.” So, if Michelangelo was allowed to make God like him, why can’t she? After all, humanity is incredibly diverse and if we look back at all the scientific evidence, the first human beings weren't white, bearded, old men.
This specific painting by Rosales went viral around the world and everyone jumped on board, commenting on her statement of God being a black woman. However, not many have paid too much attention to her art in general. If you look at her amazing paintings,
you'll see that most of her protagonists are black people from different contexts.
Little girls, elderly people, women, drag queens, and men coexist in her work, and Rosales uses art as a means to convey the experience of black people throughout history. Her scenes might not depict explicit and obvious events, but their faces, eyes, and body language show the experience –both the suffering and joy– of black people.
As she explains on her website, she wants her work to have an impact on the spectator by narrating heartfelt stories with each brushstroke. Her narratives become acts of resistance and social criticism “against indifference and inaction.”
Her paintings talk about both racial issues and female empowerment. More than being art by and for black people, she intends to show everybody the realities and injustices that happen not only to them, but to the world in general. No matter your gender, race, age, or social status, Harmonia Rosales wants the spectator to question and deal with the world they're living in.
This artist is always sharing the progress of her work. If you want to check what's she working on now, visit her Instagram and official website:
Source:Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History