commissioned by the City of Antwerp for Antwerpen Barok 2018, and the Baroque Murals project curated by Yvon Tordoir, part of the city’s celebration of Baroque art and culture. This piece is an interpretation of a depiction of Saint Joseph from the mid-1600s by Flemish painter Michaelina Wautier.
Saint Joseph is the patron saint of Belgium, as well as of fathers, expectant mothers, families, workers, and immigrants. He is traditionally portrayed in Western art holding lilies, which signify purity, though for many they might have more funerary associations. In the current context of declining labor rights, growing xenophobia, and migration crises around the world, I think even this fairly traditional representation of this patron saint of workers and immigrants holding lilies can take on an extra weight. However my primary intent with this piece was a little bit more personal. I've painted so many symbolist pieces honoring mothers, this might be my first large scale work honoring fathers, and this one is modeled after mine. I have been immensely fortunate to have a kind, loving, intelligent, hard-working father to exemplify for me an ideal of what a man and father can be.
This mural was produced with great love as a dedication to him, as well as good fathers everywhere. (The title is a nod to one of his favorite songs, Horace Silver's 'Song for My Father' from 1965.)