Parable of the Sower I, series #7, 2017, h 180 cm x b 136 cm (h 70.9 in x w 53.5 in), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
In my series of artworks Parable of the Sower I refer to the drama of the shooting at the church in the American town of Charleston (South Carolina) known as the ‘Charleston church shooting’. On June 24, 2015, the minister read the Bible story “Parable of the Sower” to a group of worshippers. An unknown young man entered the church during the lecture, joined the group and shot the worshippers at close range. In the Parable of the Sower the violent drama has already taken place and a funeral ceremony can be seen. The minister is lying there for a final tribute.
Patrick Koster, Parable Of The Sower II, series #7, 2017, h 180 cm x b 136 cm (h 70.9 in x w 53.5 in), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
The Parable Of The Sower depicts the spreading of a positive message. The seed is a symbolic representation of fertility, growth and energy. In The Parable, account is taken of the failure of the seed. In earlier prints the sower is regularly depicted with a ‘devilish’ harvester by his side. The minister of the Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was also a state senator and played a key role in passing a bill mandating that police officers wear body cameras.
The Parable of the Sower III, series #7, Sower and Reaper, 2018, h 136 cm x b 136 cm (h 53.5 in x w 53.5 in), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
“I am so depressed I cannot get out of bed. My life is wasted. I have no friends even though I am cool”. The murderer of the Charleston church shooting was an online self-radicalized average young man. He carefully announced his terrorist act online, provided background information: tried to identify himself. On his website, he had posted intimidating photos of the gun with the bullets that he would later use in his attack. He also posted many selfies in deliberate settings and specific chosen locations, supported by attributes that supposed to convey his message. The settings usually referred to the time period of the Confederate States of America (1861–1865).
The Parable of the Sower IV, series #7, Sower and Reaper, 2018, h 136 cm x b 136 cm (h 53.5 in x w 53.5 in), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
The church shooter had turned 21. His father gave him a card picturing an otter. In it a handwritten note, he promises his son cash for a gun, and also congratulates him on his new job. A photo on the shooter’s manifesto website shows the pistol that the FBI said he shouldn’t have been able to purchase.
Parable of the Sower V, series #7, Sower and Reaper, 2019, h 162 cm x b 152 cm (h 63.8 in x w 59.8 in), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
The story of “The Sower and Reaper” is part of “The Parable of the Sower”, and was often depicted in the visual arts. The harvester is the everlasting companion of the sower, there is in fact a collaboration between the two, as one completes the work that the other has begun. The harvester is often the man with the scythe who makes his own “diabolical” plans that do not always run in sync with the rhythm of nature and are sometimes an attack on life. The epic “The Divine Comedy” by the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (± 1265-1321) offers an own perspectives on the theme of the sower and evil. In the ninth ditch of the Eighth Circle of “The Malebolge”, the “Evil ditches” of the Inferno, the Schismatics or the fraudsters suffer. These cheaters are also called “Sowers of Discord” or “Sowers of dispute and dissension.”
Patrick Koster, The Parable of the Sower VI, series #7, The War Prayer, 2019, h 180 cm x b 136 cm (h 70.9 in x w 53.5 inch), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
During a recent research, I discovered Mark Twain’s (1805-1910) book “The War Prayer”, which was initially forbidden. The story had similarities with the church attack in Charleston. Mark Twain wrote “The War Prayer” in response to the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War. The book remained unpublished until 1923, thirteen years after his death.
“An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness” (Mark Twain, The War Prayer, 1905). The pastor read from “Laws for War, When you go to war”, Chapter 20 of Deuteronomy that just like “Book of the Wars of the Lord” are parts of the Old Testament.
In “The War Prayer”, the stranger confronts the pastor and the church community with group egoism, praying for a successful result of one’s own group, of an avoidable war and propagandize it. The message from the strange visitor amounted to: “stop patriotic incitement to a useless war and religious incitement of innocent civilians to go to war.” He was considered a lunatic “because there was no sense in what he said” (The War Prayer, 1905).
Patrick Koster: The Parable of the Sower VII, series #7, The War Prayer, 2019, h 180 cm x w 136 cm (h 70.9 in x w 53.5 inch), collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox
Tags: Lightbox, Vinyl work