THE HEIR (SARAH LAUGHS)
Commentary by Hannah Garrity, Artist
Inspired by Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7 | Acrylic & ink on canvas
Sarah, mother of Isaac, joyfully nurses her newborn son, giving him the nutrients he needs to grow and thrive. Abounding liquid—as a mother, I know what that is like. The feeling of a pouring out; a pouring out of milk, of blood, of tears, of joy; a pouring out of depression, of fear, of baby blues, of awe. In this image, I have expressed the feeling of pouring out. The flow throughout the background relates directly to the pain and joy that Sarah and Hagar have struggled through in their discordant parallel lives. Expressed in shades of milk, blood, and water, this image is deeply feminine. The blood that delivers life is the same blood that is shed in sexual abuse. The milk that sustains life is produced by the body whether a child is conceived by choice or by force. A new mother’s emotions run the wide gamut from overwhelming joy, to emotional pain, to previously unmet fear, and to lack of control. They extend from postpartum depression to baby blues. The experience is nothing like anything I have ever felt before or after, a paradigm shift in life. The deep and painful multiplicity of new motherhood is often summed up in perfectly constructed highlight reel photographs on baby announcements. In this painting, I depict Sarah putting up a front of pure joy. It’s honest, but it’s only one small sliver of the real story. As women we stand at once in vulnerability and beauty, in strength and love, in pain and joy. The moments of our lives envision God’s grace in deep complexity.