14 Stations of the Cross – Mural, Toronto, 1980©.

Even though I was born and raised a Roman Catholic, religion always remained a very close family “secret” discussed and followed only at home. Born in what was then a communist Yugoslavia, one did not, at least not in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, openly admit any religious tendencies. While surrounded by religious symbols at home meant that outside – in school, work or in social situations, one did not show or carry any of them about one’s person. Never mind admitting that you secretly went to Sunday school or indeed had communion.
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In former Yugoslavia one led a parallel life to the one outside one’s home, where you belonged to various communist youth organisations and then on Sunday one went secretly to church and prayed to someone else rather then Tito. After my family and I immigrated to Canada, a country whose freedom of religion was written into it’s constitution as one of the most important pillars of personal freedom, I felt there was no longer a reason to rebel along these lines. One could say or do whatever one wished and there wasn’t any negative repercussions…at least not on the religious or political level. No police were coming to arrest me because I painted a cross or some other symbol forbidden by the state.
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1st. Station
Jesus is condemned to death.
4th. Station
Jesus meets his mother.
Canada was at once comforting and confusing. They had a queen and a morning prayer at school. There were Muslim and Jewish children sitting side by side. I became friends with people from every conceivable nation on Earth. I heard Italian before I heard English. Toronto had districts that were only Portuguese, East Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, German, Norwegian, etc. The leader of the country was from the French speaking part of the nation but spoke perfect English. Canadian artists painted the Queen astride a moose or were completely abstract in their approach. Others joined into various numbered groups and were only painting Canada’s natural splendours.
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6th. Station
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
8th. Station
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
Under these circumstances and getting the opportunity, I chose to create the Stations of the Cross not as a figurative, human likeness work, but as something much more symbolic. I could finally treat this Christian theme as I saw it. Made with simple and easily gotten building materials. I chose the bitumen or in my case a Domtar© company product called Fibergum® - essentially black roof tar as the most important ingredient of my treatment. Tar is everlasting, it is as natural as the trees and has been used by Assyrians to embed colourful mosaics into their temple’s columns.
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11th. Station
Jesus is nailed to the cross.
14th. Station
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Materials: Cardboard, sand, tar, chalk, nails & road paint.
Size of individual pieces: 28 cm X 35 cm; Overall size of mural: 1.68 m X 1.75 m.