Curatorial statement

There are hundreds of known Black Madonnas that still exist today, in various locations throughout the world. The multiple meanings behind her image and the many associations connected to the Black Madonna are extremely complex. Several historic statues are believed to have originally been representations of the Egyptian Goddess Isis, while others are connected to Ishtar, Astarte, Cybele and Artemis.

The Black Madonna can also be linked, in various manifestations, to the green Tara in Tibetan Buddhism, Kuan Yin in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions, Demeter in Greek Mythology, and the Hindu Warrior Goddess Durga as well as Kali or Kali-Ma, an aspect of Durga, in Hinduism. There is also a strong religious folk tradition connecting The Black Madonna to the medieval Knights Templar, as well as the Cult of Mary Magdalene. In Southern Provencal tradition, the Black Madonna is associated with Saint Sara, the patron saint of the Gypsies, who was said to be the black assistant who accompanied the three Marys safely to France when they fled from the Holy Land, after the Crucifixion of Christ.

The Black Madonna is the embodiment of the Divine Feminine, our Earth Goddess and the Mother of all humanity. She represents the fertile womb, black and sacred and stands as a symbol of transformation and change. The images of the Virgin Mother portrayed as a dark-skinned woman symbolize majesty and power, a love of great strength, powerful, enduring and unbroken. Although the earliest known Black Madonna dates back possibly to the 9th century, she is an important symbol in the present-day, redefining darkness as a positive image in contemporary culture. Darkness or blackness is too often associated with the negative. That kind of association is one of the cornerstones of racism. It is racism itself that is evil, not darkness, for humanity is larger than color and it includes ethnicity. For others, darkness represents the internal being and includes pride in one’s history and culture, as well as struggle, survival and achievements.