Lent, Day 10

LOOK: Forgive by Nicholas Palumbo

Palumbo, Nicholas_Forgive
Nicholas Palumbo, Forgive, 2015‒16. Cut Bristol board on cardstock. Collection of Community Partners in Action, Hartford, Connecticut.

Nicholas Palumbo is one of thousands who have participated in Community Partners in Action’s Prison Arts Program over its forty-plus years of operation. Founded in 1977 and directed by Jeffrey Greene, the program “promotes self-examination and self-esteem in Connecticut inmates through participation in visual arts classes, exhibitions and publications, and brings the talent and creativity of the prison population to the community at large.”

This cut-out by Palumbo, titled Forgive, is one of the artworks the CPA purchased for its permanent art collection, which travels, along with new pieces, to public schools, universities, libraries, community centers, and galleries throughout the state. I came across it in a Hyperallergic review of the 2019 exhibition How Art Changed the Prison: The Work of CPA’s Prison Arts Program at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Full of whimsy, Palumbo’s piece brings together the words “God,” “joy,” “love,” “faith,” and “forgive” with scripture references (Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God”; John 3:16, “For God so loved the world . . .”) and images of seashells, fish, birds, hearts, flowers, insects, a dog, a rock band under the stars, and children playing ring-around-the-rosy. I see it as an invitation into Christ’s joy-filled kingdom, which we must enter with faith like a child (Matt. 18:1-5; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)—in trust, curiosity, and wonder.

LISTEN: “ABCs for Life” by Claire Holley, 2012

An alphabetical catechism, set to a buoyant, guitar-driven melody.

At all times give thanks, for this pleases God
Be kind, loving, and forgiving to each other
Christ died for our sins and rose again
Don’t lie or cheat, but be truthful
Even a child is known by what he does
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son
God made the heavens and the earth
Honor your father and mother
It’s right to care for your animals
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd”

Alleluia, alleluia

Know that the Lord is God; he made us and we are his
Love God with all your mind and strength
Make the highest goal of your life love, for your
Neighbors here and God above
Obey your parents in the Lord
Parents, gently correct, and teach your children in God’s ways
Quench not the Holy Spirit
Rejoice and be glad in the Lord

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Serve the Lord happily and sing to him
Temptations come to all, but God gives us strength to do right
Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter heaven
Victory over the world is our faith
Worship the Lord and serve him only
Except you be reborn, you will not see God’s truth
You are the light of the world
Zacchaeus, Jesus came to save those who are lost

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

3 thoughts on “Lent, Day 10

  1. This cutout method is perfect for my next piece. Thanks for the timely inspiration. I’ll be trying to render Revelation 5 in scrap wood shavings 4 foot square. But more than just technique, the joy-fullness of this piece is something I wish to communicate too. To show that Revelation is not doom and monsters but deeper in it’s about the wedding of the Lamb.
    Thanks Victoria, you’ve just crystallised my thoughts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s