Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Maxo Vanka Murals

Thanks to Merge, I finally got in to see the Maxo Vanka murals in Millvale. Hopefully, I will have some of the images up soon. Several people in our small group had some bad ass cameras and I hope a few will let me use some of their shots. The murals are one of the most valuable pieces of the region's cultural heritage that are at risk of being lost.

The artist/ musician, David Byrne, came accross them during a 2004 tour.

"The church is Croatian and the murals, by Maxo Vanka, are spectacular. The Diego Riviera of Pittsburgh, I would say. They murals were done during 8 weeks in 1937 and they cover the interior of the church. Of course, there is the virgin holding the child, but below her, for example, on either side of what is now the altar, are Croatian people - on the left from the old world and on the right from the new. A steel foundry can be seen belching smoke behind them.

But more amazing are the political murals that echo the crucifixion. Widows mourn over a coffin that contains a bleeding corpse, a soldier. Crosses cover the hillside behind them. Another wall depicts a corrupt justice in a gas mask holding scales on which the gold outweighs the bread. Clearly WWI had a big effect on Maxo."

On another site, I found this quote from Vanka, about the murals.

For Vanka, the message in these murals was simple, "Everywhere they tell men that they must kill. Men must revolt against 'must-killing'." He described the murals in their entirety: "Divinity became human so that humanity might become divine."

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