Sep 4, 2009

Immortalizing Father Damien


In celebration of Father Damien’s canonization on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City, Italy, noted and multi-awarded artist Philip Sabado of Molokai painted an amazing and captivating portrait of Saint Damien of Kalaupapa, Molokai.

"I am deeply honored to be able to portray Father Damien in this painting as I have always known him; kind, gentle and compassionate to the people of Molokai.
I am happy the world can now see him and know him as I always have, a gentle giant who loved his Church, and the people of Molokai, my home,” Sabado said in a press release.

Simply titled, “Saint Damien,” the painting captured the past, present, and future concepts of the life and works of Father Damien.



Artist’s Reflections

“ If I were to step back and view my painting unbiased I would say the most compelling and polarizing aspect that holds me and mesmerizes are… his eyes! I wish I could explain to you how this really works as I paint. You see in the “pidgin” vernacular, the painting and I at some point “talk story.”

For many years I did not tell to many people about this, but now I don’t care, it is my journey as an artist. It is only later when the painting is complete that I stand back and see the whole picture. Up to that point, I am focused on parts that eventually make a whole. Through the course of the work I am constantly making choices that are a part of that communication. The now famous photo of Father Damien was the inspiration for this painting. In this time worn photo the disease tragically affected his face and entire form. I chose (or he did) to view him at an entirely different stage, younger and timeless and not affected by the disease. In the photo there was pain, sadness, and a weariness we all can feel, especially in the eyes. In this painting another look has “come through.” The eyes penetrate as he looks directly “into” me to say, “Here is what I have done; what is it you can do?”

I am deeply humbled at this moment and hope the world will hear as well.

To learn more about the painting, visit http://sabadostudios.com/fatherdamien.html or call Sabado Art Studio at 249-0980.

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