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Mosaic Mary Jane Shoe

Mosaic Mary Jane Shoe
Mosaic Mary Jane Shoe
purchased at Island Artworks, Ocracoke Island, NC in November 2011

At a gallery on Ocracoke Island, I purchased this remarkable Mary Jane shoe, adorned with china shards and images of the Madonna.  Note the “Miraculous Medal” of the Blessed Mother — it reminds me of the one that I was required to wear everyday as a student at St. Catherine Labouré elementary school.  You will also find a tiny thumbnail of the Madonna del Granduca by Raphael.  The opening of the shoe is festooned with a cheap glow-in-the-dark plastic rosary, and if you peek inside, you will see a vivid image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the inner sole (soul?) of the shoe.  This work of art manages to be playful and yet not disrespectful of the Virgin Mary.

The shoe was created by Susan M. Dodd, who is also an author.  According to Kathryn O’Neal (owner of Island Artworks), Dodd moved to Ocracoke several years ago, and has made it her home.  Prior to that, she had taught writing at Harvard and Cornell.  There were some other mosaic works by her in the gallery, but this one spoke to me because of its religious theme.

Detail of Mosaic Mary Jane Shoe
Detail of Mosaic Mary Jane Shoe
purchased at Island Artworks, Ocracoke Island, NC in November 2011

I hestitate to call this a tacky treasure, because it is also what I would consider fine art.  However, I feel that it belongs here because of the statement I feel that it makes about the kitschification (if I may coin a word) of Christian religion.

You will find quite a few Christian objects here at Julie’s Tacky Treasures.  I hope people understand that I mean no disrespect to Jesus Christ by making fun of these objects.  It’s just that I’m constantly surprised with the way some Christians use kitsch to express their faith.  When I see people wearing t-shirts with Christian slogans (“Jesus – The Real Thing,” “WWJD,” “got jesus?”), I wonder, what are they trying to accomplish?  It can’t be to convince others to convert to Christianity; I see people wearing Dallas Cowboys t-shirts from time to time, but they never make me consider switching from being a Redskins fan to a Cowboys fan.  It does makes me wonder if it’s good for Christianity to bring religious beliefs down to the same level as loyalty for a particular sports team, however.

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2016