Drawn to the idea of “creating artwork with meaning,” Chicago-native Harmonia Rosales has recently started a serious social conversation with just a stroke of her brush. Twitter went into a tweeting frenzy after Harmonia’s reimagined painting of the “Creation of Adam” was posted — and the painting featured God as a Black woman. Cue the apocalypse.
Since we were dying to know what inspired her to create such a powerful image and ignite all of this controversy, we had to sit down with her for a chat.
“A woman is a woman: Black, white or any color," Rosales says. "We have been taught that God created 'man' in his own image. [But] in fact, we have created God in our own image. So ‘God’ is whoever we want God to be, a representation of the ideal, of the divine, of wisdom and love and pure creativity. Let's face it, creativity, starting with the womb, is a female attribute.”
While she knew that this image would capture the attention of onlookers, she had no clue that it would go viral.
“I knew my transformation would draw attention to the statement I wanted to make but the point here is to consider why we have accepted our historical representation of the beginning of life, of the Creator,” she thoughtfully shares. “The original representation excludes something very important: women and people of color. I wanted people to consider creation through a different lens that, in turn, would cause us to consider the way we see everything else we have been taught to see. Perhaps it is time to rethink.”
And the comments were abundant:
“I have received so much love and encouragement from people nationally and internationally,” Harmonia says with excitement. “It warms my heart to read emails that express love for the image. It’s very inspiring to read words of gratitude from all people.”
While there was an amazing outpouring of positive comments from around the world about the beauty and message of the image, there were also several aggressive negative responses.
“Perhaps I was a little naive in underestimating the number of individuals who would not accept such a statement, but everyone has a right to react and to express their feelings. The sad thing is that fear of change, of seeing the world differently, can cause people to say and do things that are truly destructive.”
We asked her what she would tell her “haters” and she said, “[I would tell them] thank you.” Why does she give thanks? “Their comments prove my point that we need more images of empowerment. That is what the reimagining series is all about: to empower the underrepresented and misrepresented.”
Talk about #BlackGirlMagic! And we know that Harmonia is only beginning her inspiring path. With her love for the brown image and the idea of creating “positive images with characters that we [people of color] can relate to,” she is already making her-story.
“The only way I can see to make a difference is painting these characters in all shades and reimagining the story for our youth,” she told us.
We look forward to seeing what else this talented artist can offer because this is just the beginning of her controversial paintings.
What do you think of her reimagined “Creation of God” painting?
(Photo: Courtesy of HARMONIA ROSALES)