9: Mosaic, Lilian Broca's "Queen Esther Revealing Her True Identity," 2006.
Lilian Broca is a Canadian-Jewish artist who works in painting, drawing, and mosaic art. This image comes from her series of mosaics about the development of the character of Esther as she assumes the role of leader of her people.
Broca describes the mosaic as follows:
"This is the last mosaic of the Series in chronological order. A mature and confident Queen Esther in her most expensive and beautiful attire is removing the mask (the symbol of her secret identity) revealing an intelligent and self-assured leader. On the table, a 'rhyton' (Persian gold or silver drinking vessel) is knocked over, spilling its red wine contents. The wine symbolizes the spilled blood of the Hebrew people as planned by Haman. The plotted genocide is now averted through Queen Esther's disclosure to her husband, King Ahasuerus, of Haman's evil design. In this mosaic my intention is to 'iconize' Queen Esther as a paragon of supreme leadership, loyalty, wisdom and vision. In a patriarchal society, this unique figure succeeded in bringing peace through accommodation, cooperation, and negotiation. Her hero status enables her to become a role model for all women, then and now."
Suggested Activity: Have your students examine the mosaic and discuss the following questions: which texts in this kit, if any, would this mosaic best illustrate? How would you describe Broca's representation of Esther? What characteristics of Esther does the artist bring out? After they have examined the image, have them read Broca's description of it. Does her description match how they perceived the image?
Invite your students to create their own texts about Esther (poems, short stories, visual art, etc.) based on their understanding of the character. Which characteristics of Esther do they choose to bring to the fore? Do they represent Esther as a strong leader? A victim? A martyr? Or something else?
Source: Lilian Broca, "Queen Esther Revealing her True Identity," 48″ x 33″ Iridium smalti, gems, gold tessera, gold leaf on panel, completed August 2006.