The symbolism of The Road to Reconciliation

The Road to Reconciliation is based on two important starting points:

  • The artwork visualises what connects us
    The artwork The Road to Reconciliation visualises what connects victims and abusers: recognition of the abusive past. This is a hopeful starting point. A road to reconciliation starts with the recognition of things that should never have happened.
  • People see the same thing, but experience something different
    The second starting point on which this work is based is that people can see the same thing, but have different experiences. Even when victims and abusers listen to each other with an open mind, they may still stick to their own convictions. To one person the book may represent the Bible, to another it can be the Deetman report.

The past few years have shown that the artwork can be a supporting and connecting element in bridging seemingly unbridgeable experiences.

If you take a good look at the artwork, you will discover the following:

(1) The book can be experienced as the Bible, or as another book, such as the Deetman report, or any other report.

(2) The abused child, with its face covered, can be a girl as well as a boy.

(3) The cuddly Dinky represents childhood. This is based on the very special account of the abuse that Anita Bosch-Wiss suffered. Read more about Dinky …

(4) This balloon can be moved down so that the Dinky is then on the ground. By releasing the balloon you symbolically return to the child its lost childhood.

(5) The black page on the left of the book speaks for itself. The page is visible, but not as the first one.

(6) Three sunbeams illuminate the black page. They symbolise the parties involved: the Roman Catholic church, the victims (Mea Culpa United) and the visual artist, Pierre Habets. They are also symbolised by the three nails in the cross and the three balloons.

(7) The sun and moon as the highest elements in the composition is symbolic of the divine.

(8) The dove on the cross stands for the holy ghost in the mind of one person, but may just be a dove in the mind of another.

(9) The cross represents both the suffering of the world and the suffering the victims still experience. Modelled on the film The Passion of the Christ.

(10) The outstretched hand represents the helping hand of Jesus and victims` associations. The Jesus figure has stigmata in hands, feet and breast.

(11) The Jesus figure has a walking motion as a sign that the faith in a broad sense is alive and that victims` associations are active.

(12) The Jesus figure purposefully wears jeans, and not a loin cloth, to avoid the association with naked men.

(13) The QR code on the pillar provides a direct link to this website.