March 06

Queen Esther

Lilian Broca

Lilian Broca,
Queen Esther (Venetian glass mosaic, 2002)

Throughout my career I have explored relationships and the nature of the human condition through symbols and metaphors. The Queen Esther Series deals with sacrifice and I chose the biblical Queen Esther as a prototype for the courageous, selfless heroine who wins against all odds. As a young woman, Esther fulfilled her role as leader at a time of crisis with intelligence, persistence and dedication. Today we view her as a role model and as such, she contributes significantly to the status of women in society.

The bright, seductive colours of Venetian glass and smalti I used in creating mosaics many years ago, suddenly beckoned me. The coincidental fact that mosaics were first mentioned in the biblical Book of Esther (within the description of King Ahasuerus’s palace) contributed to my decision to further explore this unique art form. In our present Post-Modernist society executing the Esther Series in an ancient method with added contemporary symbolism seems most appropriate.

Esther exemplifies the theme of sacrifice. She was totally disinterested in becoming a candidate to be crowned Queen, and the text emphasizes that she was taken to the palace against her will. Like all obedient women of antiquity, Esther complied with given instructions and continued doing her uncle Mordechai’s bidding, even after being crowned Queen.

As Queen of Persia, Esther was as inferior in status as any other woman. Her life at court was luxurious, but since she was completely isolated in the King's harem amongst women of a different culture and customs, she must have felt lonely and sad. Esther first sacrificed her maidenhood; later she was obliged to put her life at risk when ordered to go before King Khashayarsha (without the King’s permission) and reveal the treacherous plans Haman had designed without the King’s knowledge. She knew the danger to her was great and immediate, for anyone who approached the court uninvited was liable to be condemned to death. She wisely designed a plan in which she played King Khashayarsha (aka Xerxes, Ahasuerus, and Ahashverosh) and evil Haman against each other. It is my intent to portray Esther as a glorious winner, despite all the demands and sacrifices required of her in a patriarchal culture of antiquity.

More cover art:

Doug Fogelson, Deluge

Peter Azrak, untitled

Art. Lebedev, New Candles

Ron Pokrasso, Altered Tune With A Connection To St. Johns Place

Anonymous, Shofar Kid

Gene Feldman, Color Test

Patricia Albouhair-Taieb, Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain

Mina Dareshet, Ocean

Mindy Stricke, Self-portrait

Jesse Mintz-Roth, untitled

Lynne Marie, Movement

Bill Bragg, Defending the Post

Jay Michaelson, Nighttime road

Allyson Grey, Magic Square

Shirah Rachel Apple, Alef 2

David Katz, The Evil Bush Administration

Lauren Curtis, Flora meets Arcadia

John Hall, Untitled

Pamela Yates, Summer Sleeping

Paul Mindell, Greens, Jeans, and InBetweens

Jay Michaelson, Mayflowers

Bara Sapir, untitled

Bara Sapir, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Ice Tree

Jay Michaelson, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Eldorado Chanukah

Jose Campos, III, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Shofar Kitsch

Mica Scalin, Plates

Mica Scalin, Untitled

Jay Michaelson, Go in Peace

Mica Scalin, Hope

Mica Scalin, Plague Cookies

Jay Michaelson, The Park in Winter