DOUBLE CROSS,    48”x 72”, acrylic on canvas-

collection of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Reynolds, Dunnellon, Florida

The word double cross, in its first meaning, is betrayal. Its second meaning is doubling, as in twins, seeing double, double your pleasure, etc. In the painting it refers to the original inhabitants of the Americas and their treatment at the hands of the conquistadors in their search for gold, and the Jesuit padres who came with Columbus who in their arrogance did not see another culture to explore but one to exploit, to “Save” and enslave. This was also at the height of the Inquisition in Europe. This doubling of their impact remains to this day. This painting addresses that human failing as its subject. So beginning with the archeological dig of the background which is tilted to indicate upheaval, we have indications of the plundering of national treasures from the cultures that were destroyed by the conquistadors for museums outside of the countries of origin, grave robbing, looting, etc. that went on until the twentieth century was well under way. In front of that is the scene of a procession carrying a column upon which is the Farnsworth chalice dug up in Ireland that suggests the grail or cup that contained the relic of the blood of Jesus gathered at the site of his death. From that cup emerges an Indian (suggesting Jesus and the eucharist), who reaches upward toward a large cross at the top of the painting. The column below the cup is both marble and an image of Sao Paulo (Saint Paul) belching smoke (the most polluted city in South America)…another double image. Below the column is the procession of the downtrodden residents of Peru (in which I have included myself in solidarity) who are proceeding to a church service (image borrowed from an old National Geographic photo essay on Peru). There are 93 heads. Along the route of the procession are electric power poles (more crosses) which also echo the habit of the Roman emperors of crucifying dissenters along parade routes.( Even Pope John Paul could not come to the aid of the indigenous people and suppressed the very priests who worked against government repression in Guatamala, etc. even into the 1980’s. Emancipating the native people was seen as a Marxist plot ). Lastly, the marionette figure dangling from the column is a Mexican peasant (whom I have repainted next to myself on the left) and the figure which inspired this painting. The controlling mechanism of the marionette is, ironically, a cross which the puppeteer manipulates as he chooses. Symbol upon symbol.