The Whole World in His Hands

 Jay Barnwell

Ronit Bigal, Body Scripture II, 2010, photograph, 14.6 in x 9.4 in, Artist House, Tel Aviv.

Ronit Bigal, Body Scripture II, 2010, photograph, 14.6 in x 9.4 in, Artist House, Tel Aviv.

This photograph by Israeli artist Ronit Bigal transforms the body from being a simple aspect on this earth to a beautiful creation adorned in calligraphy.1 These words are not just random words that were intricately placed on the body but they are passages from the Bible, translated into Hebrew. Bigal takes pictures of the models nude then overlays the pictures with the calligraphy in black Indian ink. This is one of many images that she has created in her “Body Scripture II” exhibition. Many people have asked why she does this and no one really knows what the purpose is for the placement of the art, along the seams of the body, but the artist has been noted to respond with, “Imagine a world where your words appear on your skin. Would you be more careful of what you say?” This artifact can relate to Chapter 3 in, The Cure Within because not only does the viewer have to assess their intrapersonal relationship and the way he or she may speak but it uses Bible passages as part of the mysterious message.

Chapter 3 discusses in great detail about how positive thinking is essentially much more important than credit is given. In earlier notes of the chapter it talks about the Bible and how people who claim to have faith need to believe positively in its word. Miracles can happen if positive thinking is implemented. This artifact unleashes a great deal of thought about the gospel and human body. It makes it very interesting because it is poorly understood what is being said or why the artist chose to put it on that particular part of the body, but questions can be raised. Questions like is this passage on there for healing of that area? If so, if it is spoken and seen into existence will that area be healed? The chapter did discuss science as an aspect of power in positive thinking but I feel this image can step outside the realms of medicine. This image can be a testament of a person’s faith or belief that can be a possible reward from God for staying rooted in the Christian tradition. Then again the story of the model is not known. Why is the model naked? Could the same message be portrayed if the model was clothed? This artifact, specifically, could represent a persons’ views on the way the world functions. Briefly in the text, it was discussed that God has a predetermined destiny for things he has created. This image could be for change, forgiveness, or even death, like the woman who prayed ill to towards her son, in what could be God’s hands.

Moreover, this artifact could argue the weight of the word, due to the size of text. The slowly shrinking text could be the last efforts to hold onto to faith. What was supposed to represent strong and powerful thinking has now given in to the normalization of western society, which is to function on medication. The placebo affect may no longer be working because all faith was lost or positive thinking failed him or her and the hands in that position could represent giving up and letting the conscious mind take away the fight.

All in all, the image simply appears to unfold upon first sight and attempts to help the viewer understand certain aspects from the reading. Even if it is not explicitly said the piece of work can be interpreted in many ways from the chapter and has the ability to disrupt a generalized mind.

  1. Ronit Bigal, Body Scripture II, 2010, photograph, 14.6 in x 9.4 in, Artist House, Tel Aviv.

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