A week ago I painted my first work in times of Coronavirus, the piece shows the “Madonna near del Sacro Monte di Viggiano”, who is the patroness of the region of Basilicata, where I have lived for years and where my Italian grandparents from my mother’s side migrated to Venezuela in times of crisis, seeking refuge and hoping to have a better future.
I drew the version with a modern style and a bottom reference to the coronavirus’ shape; I have titled it “Madonna Nera Corona”. Nowadays, it has been accepted and exposed with pride at the entry as a symbol and appreciation by the authorities of the most catholic and conservative community of Marsicovetere and Villa d’Agri. The main civil center of the entire Val D’Agri valley.
This history has been developed since a few weeks ago when after I painted the canvas, and through one of my parents’ contact at the Vatican, I sent the image to such priest, most humbly asking him if he could bless it in order to give it strength and give us faith in order that he Black Virgin could protect Venezuela and Italy. The answer came on the following day from Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, and it was not only benediction, but also extending such work of art’s benediction to all those venerating the image, not only for our nations that have such a specific link, but for the whole world, thus uniting a true honor and miracle for a Venezuelan-Italian artist as I am that life forced to evolve among two worlds.
In these crisis moments imposed by the coronavirus pandemics at a world level, we increasingly become more aware of the fact that humanity is sole one and that we are finding out what are the things with most value, beyond money and material objects, culture and solidarity are the vectors more reminding us of our condition as brethren equally subject to the realities and challenges of nature and circumstances. In times when fear and xenophobia rule, resiliency, empathy and identity common to all as human beings must win after living the tragedy behind we end-up growing as individuals and members of a collectivity. The fact that today we all together accept that a mere canvas with acrylic pigments may become a symbol of common faith, of shared identity and of protection in tortuous times a small individual miracle having yet more values when appreciated by society as a whole. A benediction that unites and gets its maximum expression and value on top of all calamities when shared in a common struggle.
By Rodrigo Figueredo