40″ x 30″, acrylic on canvas, 2008

“Iris Sagrada” was the central painting in “Detroit in Tenochtitlan”, a Day of the Dead offering celebrating the 75th anniversary of Diego Rivera’s famous murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which looked to industry as the redeemer of the working man, painting 1930s Detroit with a utopian aura. Exhibited at the Michigan State University Museum in 2008, “Iris Sagrada” also expresses hope for Detroit as well as Michigan, but draws inspiration from the vital force of the natural world, rather than industry. The Dwarf Lake Iris, the wild flower of Michigan, with its 4 large petals symbolizing the 4 Great Lakes of the state, is an expression of renewal. The sacred iris blooms from a hand, representing the Michigan land mass, turned downward and rooted in the underworld, the womb of the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, who brings new life from the soil of the dead, the past and the obsolete.