AboutPhos Hilaron: From the Masses Rise the Saints is an art action of exaltation and togetherness countering the current socio-political landscape.
Ventiko has transformed Chinatown Soup into a sacred space through a three-part, site-specific installation that features a Chapel, a Reliquary, and an Altar. The walls of the Chapel are lined floor-to-ceiling with photographic murals of interlocking bodies: images of unidentified flesh upon flesh and limb upon limb, representing the masses. Here, visitors encounter 100 Saint Candles—custom art objects that, when burning, reveal the spirit of the Saint within. Continuing to the Reliquary, visitors find the Saints’ identifiers, or objects of special significance for each Saint. The Altar is the final destination, where light boxes measuring 12 feet by 7 feet illuminate a group portrait of selected Saints.
Through her lens, Ventiko canonized members of her community to serve as sources of inspiration and light. Over the course of one month, each Saint was photographed in an intimate, customized environment to enhance their unique messages. These portraits appear on votive candles that the Saints have purchased. This personal crowdsourcing model mirrors the spirit of collectivism that Ventiko encourages through the creation of this art action. Nothing is possible without togetherness. In addition, 100 artist books comprised of the portraits and accompanying stories written by the Saints are available for purchase. Together in this form, they cannot be separated or segregated.
Our identities are informed by our experiences and enhanced by those in our lives. Ventiko feels blessed and honored to have so many people illuminate her path with their Light of Joy. As a gesture of gratitude, this exhibition is for them.