Carrie Ann Baade | Allegory of G(o)od Government
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 36 x 48 inches (H x W)
My interpretation of good government is an attempt to illustrate the divine task of renewing the cosmos through the renewal of self. This painting begins from the bottom up as an apocalyptic scene, which represents the death of a world. From the seed in the flame, we see its rebirth upward. It is said that Vishnu will save the earth from destruction by transforming himself into a giant turtle, through his navel will bloom a lotus of the new world. Whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos, and destructive forces, Vishnu restores the cosmic order and protect Dharma. As this imagery ascends, the three forms or faces of the Trimurti represent God's roles of creation, preservation and destruction, which are associated with Brahma (the source or creator), Vishnu (the preserver or indwelling-life), and Shiva (the destroyer and transformer) respectively. Some Hindus use these cosmological functions of the three gods to create an acronym for "GOD"; that is Generator (Brahma), Operator (Vishnu) and Destroyer (Shiva). Within the three headed god is Sophia. Through this godhead is the new world (from Bosch’s Earthly Delights). Note that as the new world is formed, it is already encircled in a ring of fire that predicts the end.
(Part 2) This forms the axis mundi, a cosmic axis, that is the connector between the lower and higher realms and simultaneously forms the pillar for the scales for the weighing of the heart. Within this image are gods from Egyptian, Christian, Hindu, and Greco-Roman mythologies to represent the external forces that guide our morals and morae. What I learned through the creation of this image is that true good government first must come from within. Frank Herbert said, “Government is a shared myth. When the myth dies, the government dies.” We must be in a constant state of fluid responsiveness, that allows us to adjust ourselves as needed, through checking in with what is right in order to govern ourselves.
By exploring the cyclical nature of the earthly existence, this painting was inspired by Thomas Jefferson statement that “Every generation needs a revolution.” Cycles of death and rebirth as we face internal and external forces of destruction and meet this with renewal like the phoenix arising from the ashes of its predecessor, we build over our failures and persevere through disasters to recover order. The embracing of cycles relieves some of the gravity of earthly existence.