materials funded: Arches watercolor paper, watercolor paints, brushes
Most Christian places of worship in the United States feature images of God as white and male. Rarely do we see images of black or brown Christs or Madonnas. In Latin America, however, the Black Madonna is represented frequently in churches. Sacred moments when ordinary people connect are glimpses of the Divine that Doherty hopes serve as common ground.
“Sacred Browns” represents people of color in everyday loving interactions, images of humanity seen too rarely in religious or public spaces. My paintings of beauty and tenderness among black and brown people are intended to rectify this absence, and to elevate the holiness of all. They are intended as an everyday sacrament, and a wider lens on the Divine in our midst.
About the artist
Judith Doherty has a passion for expressive art and social justice. A retired teacher of writing, she now studies art at Worcester State University. “I used to see the world in black and white words,” she says, “Painting opens me to color.” Her chosen medium is watercolor, for the unexpected ways that water and pigment flow on paper.
As the mother of two Guatemalan daughters, Doherty deliberately works to highlight the beauty of their brown skin and the wider range of human skin tones. Ongoing learning is important to her work. Prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement, Doherty studied how white dominant society erases the beauty of Latinx, African American, and multi-racial imagery from mainstream American art museums and churches. An active participant in artist groups, she uses feedback from her peers to guide her ongoing practice. She is also a member of the Sterling Cultural Council, where she promotes community art activities.