Suave, 11x8ft, 2018,Burgundy Velvet Fabric, Stuffing, Candles, Essential Oils

Suave consists of an eleven feet cross shaped burgundy pillow placed in a white installation room that is infused with the scent of roses, referencing the scent I associate with my grandmother. There are no rules of engagement, but it is specified that the viewer can interact with the cross however they feel the most comfortable. This piece is my effort to recreate the comfort faith provides the believers in a tangible way for those who don’t believe and therefore don’t get the impalpable consolation faith provides.

I was fourteen years old when I truly understood the pain that comes when someone dies unexpectedly. At that same moment I also lost my faith and that complicated my grieving process as it didn’t align with my family’s. I grew up with a very religious grandmother who overcame an abussive relationship and her son’s death by holding on to faith. I was and still am very envious of those who have faith as a way to gain comfort when there are no explanations. As a result of this I thought of the moment in Catholicism that created this comfort, the moment Jesus died for people’s sins and “saved” them, he would provide the way to heaven for the sinful mankind as long as they believed in him. As a result of this I created my own version of a crucifix altering  the materials to represent the comfort I lack. I wanted to create that moment for myself and for others, a crucifixion, but soft.

The cross is a direct reference to the crucifixion of Jesus and what has become the main symbol associated to catholicism. In the piece, the cross is made out of burgundy red velvet fabric, which is a motif inside the church, often utilized on donation bags, carpets, kneeling pads and confusion booth curtains. The softness of the material is a metaphor for comfort and how this is provided through faith. There is a hinted parody in the juxtaposition of materials and engagement with the object, considering how the actual crucifixion went and how it is reframed into a soft interactive sculpture.

The crucifixion of Jesus is a very important moment in history, not only for those who believe he was the messiah, but for all of the people who have been affected by the events, institutions and traditions that were created as a result of these organized religious values. The story of the crucifixion describes Jesus’s sentence in first century Judea after being arrested and sentenced by Pontius Pilate. He was crucified by the Romans, who used this as a method of capital punishment. This torturous procedure consisted of nailing the victim to a wooden structure that was shaped like a cross, the person was left there until they eventually die from asphyxiation or exhaustion.

Suave acknowledges this history by mimicking the structure in which Jesus was crucified. However, the cross is set up on the floor and is open and inviting, not like the real crucifixion, for audience engagement. It is important to mention again how the piece had no limitations or directions on how the interaction with the object should go.The first time the piece was exhibited, a vast majority would lay down and mimic Jesus’s crucifixion without being told to do so, a very interesting instinct.