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"Christina Varga's triptych depicting Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed
combines stylised church iconography with humble materials
to create sombre figures that plead for multi-theist reconciliation."
Jack Livingston, RAW Vision Magazine-
Spring 2008 62 issue

Exhibited at the 13th Mega Exhibit of the American Visionary Art Museum
All Faiths Beautiful: From Atheism to Zoroastrianism, Respect for Diversity of Belief


RAW VISION MAGAZINE - Spring 2008 62 issue
RAW REVIEWS: All Faiths Beautiful page 65

"Christina Varga's triptych depicting Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed combines
stylised church iconography with humble materials to create sombre figures
that plead for multi-theist reconciliation." Jack Livingston, RAW Vision Magazine

  The Buddha - Siddhartha Gautama - stands before the eight-story pagoda representing the eightfold path of Buddhism: right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. The river springing at Buddha's feet symbolizes his place as the first in historical timeline of the three men represented in this work. Inscribed on the giant golden prayer wheel in the pagoda is the sacred mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. The Himalayas of Nepal loom in the background. His halo is in the shape of a lotus. His eyes are turned inward in meditation.

Jesus Christ

stands before three buildings representing the trinity.
His halo is a Byzantine cross. The stained glass windows show the symbols of pagan religions absorbed into Christianity, the Tree of Life of Judaic mysticism - a map of the ten Sephiroths or Luminous Emanations in the Kabbala, and three crucifixes. The center building ascends beyond the borders of the painting to a place in the heavens where Jesus currently sits while Jesus looks directly at us as a reminder of his return.

  Mohammed the Prophet
(peace be upon him)
stands before the green domed mosque of Medina called the Prophet's Mosque. Because it is forbidden to represent his face calligraphy commanding all to maintain a pure body and spirit and declaring the greatness of Allah the one True God covers it. Mohammed's hands are in a position of Surrender - the definition of Islam. His halo represents the flames surrounding his body in Islamic iconography. The hand in the sky is that of his cherished daughter Fatima and represents the five pillars of Islam: declaration of faith, formal prayer, charity, to fast in the month of Ramadan, and to perform a pilgrimage to the Ka'bah in Makkha at least once in a lifetime. 


Speaking of Faith Blog - "Religion and Art"
January 23rd, 2008 entry by producer Colleen Scheck

Johns Hopkins University
Unique AVAM exhibit displays predictable message
By Patrick Kennedy
Keeping the Faith @ AVAM by Mark Barry

Baltimore Sun article " 'Outsider' exhibit focuses on faith"
By Glenn McNatt | Sun Art Critic

"From The Artists Studio"
... A Neo-Byzantine Triptych"

The Wave - Rockaway, NY February 10, 2006
by Susan Hartenstein

"The Campus" Forbidden Iconography: Varga On Her Art
CUNY Campus Article
November 25, 2005 City College of NY
by Kenya Mitchell

"A Word is Worth a Thousand Images"
by Enzo Husain - Idea Museum

Idea Museum
"Heaven's Doors"
by Shanti Zachariah

The World's Leading Journal
of Outsider Art, Art Brut & Contemporary Folk Art

American Visionary Art Museum
"All Faiths Beautiful" Exhibit

Featured work with image published:
Triptych of Buddha, Jesus & Mohammed
by Christina Varga

A triptych is a three-paneled work. This painting illustrates our diverse religious complexion and the men that were forces of change in human spirituality. The feet symbolize their connection to the physical earth. The hands are in positions of surrender, benediction and blessing. The river that springs from the toe of the Buddha represents the flow of Time, Life, and Truth flowing through all things into the collective Sea of Knowledge behind Jesus and Mohammed. The fig tree between Jesus and Buddha represents the enlightenment Buddha attained in contemplation beneath the Sacred Bodhi Fig tree and Jesus' judgment of the barren fig tree. The reverse side of the panels show three symbols: The Dharma wheel representing the eight-fold path of Buddhism; The Star of David, emblem of the house of David from which Jesus is a descendant which incorporates a hidden cross; and the Crescent Moon of Islam whose sighting at the end of the month of Shaban signifies the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan.

The back of the tryptych is completed in hand cut wood mosaic and features the eight spoked Dharma Wheel
on the reverse of the Buddha, a six pointed star with a hidden cross on the reverse of Jesus
and a crescent moon with a stylized starburst on the back of Mohammed (pbuh).


See other works by Christina Varga

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VARGA Gallery
130 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498

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