How would you depict something as abstract as the Examen prayer? That was the challenge for artists vying for a commission to make a statue of St. Ignatius for Fairfield University. The winning idea came from New York artists Joan Benefiel and Jeremy Leichman. Their statue, “Examen,” was unveiled this week, picture above.
Two identical figures of St. Ignatius, made from the same mold, face each other. Their gaze is intense; it’s no simple glance in a mirror. The feet are abnormally large, signifying the saint’s journey. The hands are large as well, signifying a man ready to go to work. The idea was to erect a statue that would encourage young people to reflect–one of the goals of Jesuit education. You look at the statue and realize that you’re reflecting on a man reflecting. That’s part of what you do when you pray the Examen.
Certainly the statue is open to many interpretations. What’s yours?