caitlin connolly (American, born 1986)
loaves and fishes (2019)
Oil on panel, 23 x 20 inches
Used with permission of the artist
Symbols in painting are like symbols in the scriptures. For early Christians who could not read texts, including the Bible, painted symbols (a white lily, a purple robe, a lamb, lion, or snake) were universally understood. Today, some artists' symbolic imagery invites us to ask questions about ourselves and our lives with a backdrop of belief. The artist Caitlin Connolly ‘s painting Loaves and Fishes refers to the New Testament parable without illustrating it directly. She makes bread and fish into personal symbols. She writes, "I painted Loaves and Fishes after becoming a mother for the first time to twin boys. While trying to care for these children, I felt so inadequate, their needs were so great and my abilities were lacking. I wanted to be endlessly present while also needing time away. When I sketched this, I felt like it captured these conflicting emotions I was experiencing. The scriptural reference of the title was perhaps a small prayer woven into my experience—a prayer to myself, to my boys, and to God—that although my offering was incomplete, it might be enough."
When Jesus fed the 5,000, He had learned of the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, and wanted to be alone to mourn, but 5,000 followed Him to learn from Him and to be blessed and healed by Him. He directed His attention to them and blessed them. And then they needed to eat, and He, blessing five loaves and two fishes, fed them all. Having fed them, He went to a mountain to pray and was, in the evening, "there alone." Sometimes in the demands of life, including raising a family, it feels like there is no place apart and there are heavy demands on us to care for and even feed so many others who follow after us, begging for attention and to have their needs met. How does this story of the Savior help you to know how to follow Him when others need your care and you long for a space apart?
A boy was sent off by his mother with a sack containing five loaves and two fishes. And a miracle happened. He became an instrument for the miraculous touch of Jesus to feed 5,000. What is the significance of what you figuratively pack for your children as you send them out into the world?
When have you felt the touch of the Savior make your contribution be enough, even when you had worries of inadequacy?
Art Creation: Make a collage with something included from everyone in your family.