Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Portrait Exhibition Finalist, David Lenz

Artist Statement (David Lenz)

(Oil on linen, 2005)

My wife Rosemarie had just given birth to our son Sam, and although he appeared perfectly healthy, something, nevertheless, didn't seem right. There was an awkward silence in the room, no words of congratulation or comments about how cute he was – even though he was cute. Five minutes later the diagnosis was given: Sam has Down Syndrome. "Are you going to keep him?" a nurse asked. Later that evening someone else came by to "console" us. "It's every mother's worst nightmare," she said.

Welcome to the world, Sam.

In America today, perfection is highly valued. We dump loads of chemicals on our lawns to try and get rid of every weed, every dandelion. Models and supermodels are tall, impossibly fit, their clothes stylish and wrinkle-free. Images like this tend to change our perceptions, our ideals, until finally they leave us looking around at the peeling paint on our own houses, and our less than fit bodies, and it leaves us wanting.

Perfection, I would submit, is overrated. And besides, I like dandelions.

In the painting Sam assumes the role of presenter, host, even tutor, of this most revealing examination of the civilization man has made for himself. Sam is not society's accepted definition of perfection. In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, he really does have an important message for everyone to hear.

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Finalists

4 thoughts:

wanderingrose said...

Thank you so much for posting this. The painting is beautiful and I believe the comments truely releflect what is going on in our society today.

My Sissy is also a down syndrome child. She is beautiful, bright (in her own way,) and charming. I am so lucky to be her mom.

magnolia's mama said...

Aww. It seems as though chidren with downs or any other "handicap" are such a blessing to their parents, and the idea I get is because of their innocence and joy. It must be difficult at times, but trust God to carry you through!

P.S. Barbara Curtis at Mommylife.net is a woman I have found to be full of wisdom (even though I've only been reading her for a short time.) She has at least one downs child (she has 12 children all together), so I thought you might want to know. I'm not trying to be trite, just helpful (from someone who doesn't know much about anything!).

wanderingrose said...

What a great link! I have added it to my bookmarks. Thank you.

Celi said...

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing Sister!