GODS of Suburbia is a visual analysis of religious faith within the context of the modern forces of technology, science and secularism. The series plays with narrative and religious iconography in order to communicate how organized belief has become twisted within a global framework driven by consumerism and greed. The project challenges the viewer — religious or secular — to embark on a journey of self-reflection as they contemplate the relevance of dogma in modernity.
THE LAST SUPPER, JESUS, 2014 This piece is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's iconic, Last Supper, which was painted in the late 15th century in Milan, Italy. My reenactment of history’s most famous dinner party is meant to portray the treatment of the most vulnerable by society. I have placed Jesus and his Apostles, a street gang, specifically in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This is Canada’s poorest postal code and a place of chronic drug abuse, alcohol addiction and mental illness. Jesus and the Apostles consume the diet of street people: cheap packaged noodles, cheap beer and canned tuna, while Judas plots his betrayal of Jesus. In Vancouver, so much money has flowed into the Downtown Eastside, but it is still a place of violence, addiction and homelessness. Like Judas, who betrayed Jesus for money, many have benefitted from initiatives to help Vancouver’s poor, yet the poor still have nothing.
THE LAST SUPPER, JESUS, 2014
SATAN, 2014 Who doesn't wish they could be Satan, just for a day, operating without the prick of a conscience? My modern Mephistopheles is a tow-truck driver, winching up the car of a grandmother who pleads with him but her dismay amuses him. This photo is a critique of how draconian the rules of society can be. Satan has the authority to tow grandmother's car away, but is it the right thing to do? As a society, we devise laws that are meant to make society a just place for all-but we fail so often.
ELOHIM, 2014 Elohim is the name for God that is found in the Hebrew Bible. In my narrative his aspirations and dreams are unfulfilled. He is living in a flophouse, taking odd jobs to survive. Is his failure mankind itself? Or is the concept of God as omnipotent flawed? If man was made in God's image, it makes sense that he can fail too - Why is goodness and peace so rare while war, cruelty, suffering, and environmental degradation so prevalent?
MUHAMMAD THE PROPHET, 2014 Muslims have a rich history as scholars and philosophers, and modernity owes much to the Islamic Golden age, which flourished from the 7th to the 13th century. Muslims made many discoveries in mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy and psychology. All of this hundreds of years before science arrived in Europe. This piece explores the obvious disconnect between the East, specifically Islamic principles and the West’s secular ideals, which is currently at the forefront of international concern. Fundamentalism is on the rise, combining dark age torture with high tech social media to recruit. Each side has deeply seeded beliefs that are based on directly opposing ideologies.
MUHAMMAD THE PROPHET, 2014
DARWIN, 2014 Darwin was a British Scientist who developed the theory of evolution and natural selection. As a young man, Darwin was deeply religious and even considered being ordained. But instead he pursued a life of science, sailing all over the world to study animal species and their environments. His observations of the many varieties of Finch birds in the Galapagos Island led him to solidify his theory of natural selection. His famous theories were based upon the scientific method, where you crease a hypothesis and then prove it through experimentation. Darwin was among the many scientists that have helped society evolve our of mysticism, superstition and faith. But science does not hold the answer to everything and even subscribes to the randomness of life on Earth.
LORD XENU, 2014 Scientology, created by Ron L. Hubhard, is controversial; due in part to famous Hollywood members, as well as it's unusual science fiction like doctrines. One is the myth of Lord Xenia who is actin as a therapist for a psychiatrist, a twist on the Scientology belief that psychiatry as a profession is barbaric and corrupt. According to Scientology, lord Xenu took control of Earth's inhabitants with the help Thetans from space who inserted anxiety and self doubt into humans. In order to expel the corruptions left by the Thetans through the process of Dianetics, Scientology Auditors interview and record their members in a process called 'Auditing'. This portrait illustrates how those who control the minds and hearts of people through dogma are quick to condemn things that encourage free, independent thought.
LORD XENU, 2014
VOODOO, 2014 The name was derived from the god Vodun of the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. Slaves brought their religion with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies. Demonized and dramati,, it is a belief system like conventional religions. in that it seeks to make sense of the world and the eternal question: "Why arc we here?". This photograph references Voodoo and is homage to African slaves. The setting is a much loved home that is about to be torn down, the young woman who grew up here is surrounded by the exist-like memories from childhood. In the background, outside, is Pa Legba, who is a Loa, the word for a Voodoo deity. He is the intermediary between the human world and the spiritual world. In Voodoo, the demarcation between Ilk and death is more fluid; helping Voodoo followers create order out of disorder. The snake represents Damballa Wye. He is a snake-god of fertility and the father of all Loa. The chicken feet arc a voodoo fetish, and act as protection. The presence of the chicken feet protects and preserves the unseen bur nonetheless unbreakable bonds of love and family.
WICCA, 2014 Wicca is a modern witchcraft religion Mat draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan motifs and ritual practice.In Wicca, female and male are equally sacred. Asa modem belief system, it is given Rule respect or credence thanks in part to a misunderstanding of this faith which often times is portrayed in Hollywood as good and bad witches. In Wicca, the female goddess is represented by the Moon, a symbol of Mother Earth and fertility. The male Wiccan god is given horns, representing the horned animals that ancient humans hunted. Wicca includes ceremony and ritual that serves the union oldie divine with nature rather than embracing a personal god. This is something that we associate with people who are on the fringe of society, which is why my Wiccan god and goddess are living on the outside of the mainstream, along the periphery of Suburbia.
GANESHA, 2014 This is Ganesha, one of the most prominent deities in Hinduism and the Lord of obstacles. Ganesha, easily identified by his Elephant head, has been depicted throughout the ages within all mediums of art and complex iconography. This portrait reflects my personal experiences from childhood. As an immigrant to Canada I was bullied for being different and for not speaking English—You can see in the photo that what differentiates people is not only what they eat, and how they dress, but also what they believe in. Being bullied makes people internalize their feelings and beliefs. By staying open to other ways of thinking and listening to the stories of those who come from different places, we can grow and enhance our own.
LAKSHMI, 2014 Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, beauty and money. And isn't the workingwoman today supposed to embody all these traits? Hcr four hands arc the many responsibilities she shoulders. She must be bcautiftd and attractive for her partner and bring home at least half of the family income. But she is still in the kitchen, responsible for the running of the household. The black mamba snake slithering towards Lakshmi is highly venomous. if Lakshmi fails in many responsibilities, what happens to her family, her community, her followers?
BUDDHA, 2014 The word Buddha means "awakened one" or "the enlightened one". Buddhism is about- the search for truth or enlightenment by rejecting the three poisons that keep or from true fulfillment, they are: ignora aachmem and aversion, which equate to the Western psychological concepts of namissism, desire, and hatred. The 3 poisons are the result of Ignorance, which isn't just an inability to apprehend the truth, but an active misapprehension of oneself and on surroundings—It is the blind assumption that things are different then in actuality. I've placed Buddha in a high-end supermarket to illustrate how for we live and exist from the ideals of Buddhism, which we in the West pay homage to with yoga and meditation. The irony is that we continue our immersion in the three poisons when we shop at such overpriced designer supermarkets. They are a facade—they hide truth with labels like 'Organic' They indulge our narcissism and desire — separating the haves even further from the have-nots, who can't shop at such places and are left with GMO and lower scale food.