Portfolio > Reliquaries

Reliquary for Catania
Reliquary for Catania
Acrylic paint and papier-mâché on basswood
2015

In the spring of 2014, I chaperoned a group of college students to Sicily. Traveling by coach from town to town, I took nearly 2000 digital photos. The bus driver paused for a brief rest stop in Catania and the students dispersed to buy regional specialties from the street vendors. On that warm breezy night, a local directed me through the Giardino Pacini toward the Cattedrale di Sant’Agata. I stood in front of the Fontana Dell’Elefante and realized I had no battery life left in my camera phone. It was a relief to be free of the compulsion to record the moment in a photo. I was left to take in the scene in a way I might have in my pre-cell phone travelling years. I absorbed the monument as both my past and present self and contemplated the layered civilizations that marked their place on this site before me; an Etruscan elephant sits atop a Baroque base and bears an Egyptian obelisk on its back. This paper reliquary is a temporal object that questions the relative permanence of marking specific spots.