Water Flames - Doe of the Dawn, ©MakotoFujimura, 60x96" Diptych. Mineral Pigments, Japanese Vermilion, Gold and Silver on Canvas
"Doe of the Dawn" is one of the heading titles attributed to Psalm 22, a Psalm that famously begins with "My God, My God...Why have you forsaken me!", a cry of Jesus that he quoted from the Psalm, on the Cross. This diptych was specifically created for the 20th commemoration of 9/11 terrorist attacks, for "Re-membrance" exhibit at High Line Nine Gallery. Fujimura notes in his book "Art+Faith: A Theology of Making" as to the origin of Water Flames series:
In 2005, I exhibited a series of new paintings called Water Flames, one of which later became the frontispiece for the Gospel of Mark in The Four Holy Gospels. Loosely based on Dante's vision of his journey to Paradise via the Inferno and Purgatory, I painted flames with, paradoxically, water. Hiroshi Senju (then his studio mate on 9/11/01) had given me traditional Japanese vermilion from the estate of the postwar Nihonga master Seison Maeda, and I layered it more than sixty times to create the luminosity. These images are based on a video of memorial flames at Hiroshima. In essence, I combine the flames of Hiroshima with the image from 1 Corinthians 3 of God's flames (and now Psalm 22). So I have been thinking of the symbolic weight of flames in scripture and at Ground Zero, attempting to turn the flames of destruction into the flames of sanctification.