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The Spirit of God

I have inherited the mixed media collage I created for my parents some 12 years ago.

It is titled “The Spirit of God.” It is not an icon in the traditional sense, although, in the top right hand corner of the collage, I have painted a stylized sun, and in its center placed an icon of Christ.View image It is the first image one sees upon entering a Greek Church. “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 1:5)

It is this image and these words, which are deeply embedded on the Greek psyche. I created it in homage to my parent’s bond, their strong Christian beliefs and their effortless ability to blend both their Greek and Canadian identities.

The entire icon is framed in deep forest green to offset the delicately painted purple maple leaves that dominate the left-hand corner of the painting. In the foreground, I have reproduced images of the two of them, taken in the late 1950’s, when they first came to Vancouver from Montreal. They are both younger than I am now.

My father is handsome, proud, in the way many Greek men are handsome. He is wearing a cream wool blazer, an off-white dress shirt and a narrow brown tie. His gold tie clip has a small maple leaf imprinted on it. My mother is wearing a Jackie O. type dress - white satin with great peonies and poppies scattered throughout. The single strand of pearls around her neck gives her an aristocratic look. Her lustrous black hair, high cheekbones and almond-shaped brown eyes create an exotic look. It is easy to see why my father’s family thought she was not fully Greek.

Behind them I have arranged passages from an old religious text called “Marriage and the Christian Home.” It is a book my parents purchased for me when I first began dating. The beauty a husband should seek in his wife is beauty of soul the book intones.

• Born February 10, 1925 - Eva would have turned 82.
• Born February 11, 1929 - Nick would have turned 78.

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