My sculpture is the first one in a series of outstretched hands. The first hand, Noli Me Tangere was created entirely in black. It reaches out into the void - alone and unreciprocated. Although most of my work is brightly colored, solid black of the Noli Me Tangere hand represents the change that is yet to come.
In our youth, we feel infinite and invincible. All the colors of the world collide in the energy and enthusiasm of every possible future. Noli Me Tangere maintains an element of optimism because the textured toy blocks that enrobe the hand and create an armor between touch and the world. Legos building blocks make up most of this hand. The same building blocks that fired my imagination as a child also led me to more creative pursuits as a man. The blocks on my sculpture protect but do not restrain, they are dark but hopeful, the hand is rising above and breaking through.
To view additional details of my "Noli Me Tangere" EngageArt project, including sketches, behind the scenes images and graphics visit the following link: https://bit.ly/Nol_Me_Tangere
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” - Ephesians 6:11 NIV
The sense of touch resonates throughout the human body, but our hands directly connect us to the physical world. I have held fast to the belief that hands are our most important tools - connecting us to one another, to our health and safety, to our work, and our craft.
In a design class 30 years ago, a beloved professor shared the story of his partner’s final moments; trapped in isolation and fighting an infectious disease that overwhelmed his immune system. The profound sadness of their plight was made more poignant by the revelation that even though they spent a lifetime together, the abiding love they shared could not be expressed in the end because they were not allowed to hold one another. I have never forgotten the silence in that room decades ago as he recounted his pain.
This memory returns as I hear about countless families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who are unable to comfort one another. Mothers, lovers, grandparents, and friends find themselves entirely cut off - dying completely alone.
We now find ourselves isolated, cut off from the world, and one another. From this isolation came the genesis of my new work, Noli Me Tangere. The phrase comes from John 20:17, in which Jesus tells Mary Magdalene that their only connection can be through faith, that she must not touch Him. It indicates that the link between human beings and the Divine must no longer be physical, but can only be a bond of heart to heart.
In the weeks that followed, I’ve pondered the phrase, “The New Normal,” as it relates to the future of human touch. The lack of human touch and the emotional connections we are being asked to forsake both in our casual encounters and at life’s most vital moments.
At first, the idea struck me with great sadness at the casual assumption that we must all move forward without direct human contact to keep ourselves safe. The bonds of trust conveyed by a hug or a handshake are being dismissed as antiquated gestures. But I soon realized that at its core, Noli Me Tangere isn’t about the physical disconnection we are all experiencing or the rituals of touch we could lose, it’s about the strength we must have in the face of adversity and the faith that we will be together once again.
This symbolism of strength and faith of Noli Me Tangere is also expressed throughout the scriptures of Ephesians.
In Ephesians 6:12 NIV “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against the powers of this dark world…” tells us that even in our darkest hour, for most of us, the true battle lies within ourselves. We must have faith to remain optimistic that we will overcome, the sacrifice we must make for others, and our fight to defeat temptation.
The extended hand of Noli Me Tangere reaches out into the void - alone and unreciprocated. And yet, the textured blocks embrace the hand and protect it like the full armor of God - an armor of faith, that rises above and is ever vigilant in search of better days. Ephesians 6:16 NIV “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Although this global pandemic will have a profound effect on the evolution of our society and a transformational effect on our most intimate bonds, I have faith that we will hold, kiss and touch one another again.
• TITLE: “Noli Me Tangere” [Original 1/1 Sculpture]
• MATERIAL: Mix Media [Cast Molded Plastic / Sculpting Apoxie,
Plastic Building Bricks [Imitation Lego] / Black Enamel Glossy Paint / Glue]
• PRICING: $5000
Printed copies of the “Noli Me Tangere” digital illustrations showcased in this project can also be purchased upon request. All custom printed digital print specs [dimensions, material, & printing method] are by request only.
Digitally print pricing will be determined with a custom quote by request.
Send inquires for purchasing the “Noli Me Tangere” original dimensional 1/1 Sculpture or custom printed digital illustration print to: hello[at]lackoillustration.com
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Send custom project inquires to: hello[at]lackoillustration.com
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