These Days of Maiuma

ParkeHarrison

These Days of Maiuma, with its iconography of the remains of a grand feast and its themes of contemporary wealth, decadence, and disregard for the environment is intended to be a visual and conceptual counterpoint to The Worcester Hunt, a 6th century mosaic from Antioch. This mosaic resides within the Worcester art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts. Researching the symbolism, history, and culture of Antioch offered intriguing content for the creative process. The brutality displayed in the mosaic became fertile ground for us to explore the cruelty and gluttony of the time. The concept for our mural offers a window into contemporary issues of use and misuse by aligning the past and present. The title for this work, These Days of Maiuma, derives from ancient Antioch. . Maiuma was a religious festival of the ancient world. In Antioch it became a reason for parties which lasted between five and thirty days. This observance evolved into such a corrupt and decadent display of all forms of excess that it was periodically outlawed or tempered. This festival of excess seems aligned with the excesses present in the mural we have created. These Days of Maiuma along with the mosaic that inspired it, are both characterized by a complex embrace of the real and the imagined. Together, they offer a compelling visualization of humans’ complex relations to their world, then and now. In the ParkeHarrison’s imagination, the mosaic floor is the setting of a more recent feast, as well as its aftermath. Evidence of a bountiful spread depicted in this mural, seemingly endless, is made explicit through finely articulated and richly colored details (products typical of the region of Antioch including pomegranates, olives, fish, lemons, roses and wine). By contrast, the narrative unfolding across the blood-spattered floor is purposefully provocative and disorienting. About those whom we see- a female tethered by her pearls to a peacock, a male carrying a bloodied stag, a moth hovering in a glass—there is nothing certain other than the palpable presence of their mortality.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth:
  • Medium: constructed photograph
  • Width: 35.5 feet
  • Year created: 2013
  • Height: 9 feet