Lilian Broca: Mary Magdalene Resurrected

March 31 - August 15, 2022

“In order to render the female experience equal in cultural value to that of the male, Broca extends to her female heroes an esteem and legitimacy that is equal to the representation of men in mosaic art.” Angela Clarke, PhD., Art Gallery Director and Curator

Please join us for this historic resurrection of Mary Magdalene. This exhibition is part of Il Centro’s Save Venice project.

Opening: Thursday, March 31 • 7:00–10:00PM

Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00AM – 5:00PM

The New Testament recounts the story of Jesus, his teachings, his death and the ensuing journeys of his twelve apostles. However, despite the seemingly impenetrable masculine presence surrounding Jesus and his message, he was in fact greatly supported by women. Two women in particular were his closest allies both named Mary. The first Mary was his mother, the Virgin Mary and second was Mary Magdalene. The latter, an enigmatic figure so close and ever present in the life of Jesus, was the first to witness his resurrection.

Whereas the Virgin Mary is depicted as a pristine figure who brought forth her son through the so called Immaculate Conception, Mary Magdalene is suspiciously positioned as her dramatic foil. While she may bear the same name, her story is characterized by the archetypal trope of the fallen woman in need of redemption with only Jesus acting as the catalyst for her repentance, absolution, and abandonment of a wayward life.

The newest mosaic series created by master artist Lilian Broca explores the figure of Mary Magdalene and the murky stories which have painted her as a woman in desperate need of salvation. Broca created this mosaic series as an exploration into this soiled Mary in order to unearth the real woman obscured by unfounded false assessments and dogma.

This new monumental mosaic series made of 6–7 foot high mosaics, constructed from Venetian glass is the outcome of years of research which saw Broca sift through hundreds of fragmentary legends on Mary Magdalene found in manuscripts located in the archives of Ethiopia, Israel, Greece and even the Medieval Latin Church. So as to revive and bring about Mary’s own resurrection as Jesus’ friend and possibly intimate companion, Broca uncovered hidden in the archives and ancient texts an alternate view of the Virgin’s foil, Mary Magdalene.

In order to bring this figure into the light, Lilian Broca makes use of a post modern approach to the Magdalene saga. She is not a figure forgotten in time who fulfills an archetypal role of the redemptive woman, but rather by utilizing forgotten non-canonical historic texts, Broca reveals to us that other ancient women like Mary Magdalene, were not one-dimensional figures or sinful women in need of forgiveness. Instead, they could have been powerhouses in their own right, possessing resources which could facilitate and further the spread of Jesus’ message. In exchange, as the Gnostic Gospels describe, Mary Magdalene was favoured by Jesus, “his greatest companion, a woman who had an intimate understanding of his life and eternal message.”