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A Visual Prayer for the Present

By Melanie Zebrowski

“I honor the feminine spirit through diverse, sacred and secular paintings. I celebrate each one of us — the iconic individual — living out the abstractness of our lifetimes within the sanctuary of the human body.”  (artist Janet McKenzie)

As women’s history month draws to a close, the Marian Library shares shares a recently acquired print by artist Janet McKenzie — “The Divine Journey: Companions of Love and Hope,” which she discusses in this 11-minute documentary.

In the words of the artist, “This work of art honors the feminine community. Fueled by memories of the past and created as a visual prayer for the present, it is my hope this painting serves as a testament to the courage and strength of women into the future. Mary, the beloved foundational figure around which timeless women gather, reaches out to us through her gaze as her blessed child sleeps within her protection.”

Known best for her work “Jesus of the People,” McKenzie challenges the traditional norms of religious imagery. Her artwork invites us to recognize the beauty found in diversity through her multicultural representations of Jesus, Mary and other figures of faith.

In the Chapel: ‘Mary, the Mother of Enduring Love’

McKenzie has received commissions from many churches and organizations, including the University of Dayton. “Mary, the Mother of Enduring Love,” an original oil-on-canvas painting installed in a devotional chapel on the north side of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, conveys Mary’s timeless presence as one who lives among those who seek her guidance and consolation.

— Melanie Zebrowski is a library specialist in the Marian Library.

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