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Artist: Lydia Ridley


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Artwork Description:

Title: Sacrilege

Forgive me Father,

for I hast forsaken mine own life

The Devil is inside and now hath taken hold

He hath taken his first bite.

This piece is built on the foundations of its religious undertones, as demonstrated with the title. The violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object, site, or person. A holy man, he is. His white clothing, his earring of the Sacred Heart. And yet he has committed a cardinal sin. Now, there is the aftermath, a painting of great mortification. A knowledge that this marks an end to his devout life. His own personal apocalypse.

In my personal narrative driving this artwork, the Forsaken Man has lived a life that is pious and completely dedicated to his God – perhaps overly so, perhaps an overcompensation. Desires flow within him, as they do us all, unholy and diabolic in the eyes of his faith. He fears damnation above all and consequently he buries these deep, contriving himself to be only virtuous. However, one day there is a spillage and his ungodly wants are momentarily fulfilled. The exact nature of these desires are yours to decide.

I chose to use cannibalistic imagery to represent these, and more specifically the act of committing them. I imagine much of my audience is familiar with the growing concept of cannibalism as a metaphor for love, yet here it is more so a depiction of desire; the Forsaken Man’s hunger, his thirst, the longing and the craving. The overwhelming want for something, or someone, so that true satisfaction will only come from consuming it whole. This use of cannibalistic imagery can be taken as either metaphorical or literal, subject to the viewers interpretation. My decision to incorporate this was also due to its visually striking nature, considering cannibalism is naturally a taboo topic and the imagery itself is rather graphic. Consequently, this immediately conveys the severity of the situation.

Additionally, you may notice the Forsaken Man’s identity is not clear. His face is concealed and I have given him no name. In having his face covered by blood, his identity is stripped away as he appears to hide in shame from his audience: the viewers of this artwork, the artist herself.

He cannot handle the mortification of being known now, of having these sins attached to his face and name. He has abandoned his life’s purpose, an existence devoted to higher powers. Now he must accept he has little choice but to acknowledge the denouement of his holy life, and face either death or the Devil, as his acts will never be forgiven in the eyes of his God; his halo fading by the minute.

Artist Bio:
I am an 18 year old artist based in South Yorkshire, England with a passion for creating and showcasing my own original works. I work primarily in both traditional and digital mediums - ranging from acrylic and oils, pencil and pen, and digital paintings.

Much of my work is inspired by the Baroque period with a focus on Ancient and mythological tales or aesthetics, particularly Greek. My artwork is intended to encapsulate a classical feel, whilst simultaneously drawing from the modern world surrounding us.