They Will Not Hurt or Destroy Textile
(after Edward Hicks) — 2014
by Michelle L Hofer
Mixed media fabric construction
Upon receiving the commission for this project by the Freeman Network for Justice and Peace, I began considering the various imagery suggestions given to me and wondered how I could bring them together. I woke one morning with a clear vision of a grand satin-velvety lion, and I recognized it as direction given by the Spirit (although it was not at all related to any of the suggested ideas I had received). I pulled out my American Art textbook and found myself contemplating early American folk artist, Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom painting, which featured such a creature.
It seems I’ve been bumping into Hicks and his work for a number of years now, and I took my early morning vision as a sign to explore what I would call Hicks’ lifelong prayer for the restoration of God’s Kingdom – a world at peace. Hicks is said to have painted closed to 100 different versions of this same scene (you’ll find them in museums across the country). They fascinate me – wide-eyed wild beasts cohabitating with domestic creatures and children, romanticized landscape vistas, people of different races peaceably interacting. Through discussion and planning with the group, a new expression emerged.
This (the right) banner features Hicks’ familiar menagerie of child and animals which he always included in one arrangement or another in his Peaceable Kingdom paintings. It is a visual of Isaiah 11:6-10. A portion of this passage appears on the boy’s banner ribbon. Although it is a lesser known phrase from the text, it is a powerful call to justice as we relate to others and the created order.
Both banners also bear the text, Psalm 34:11-14, a Scriptural encouragement to be persons who search out peace. May it be so with you in your journey upon this earth.