Blake Ward

The Last Temptation of the Prophet

ReThink Collection

The last Temptation of the Prophet
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The profane and the sacred
These religious orientated works wish to arouse curiosity and contemplation as they comment on the human condition. This series is meant to enliven the spirit and compel awareness regarding our place within a shrinking world; the intolerance of our cultures, religions and psychologies. Religions such as Islam and others, work to close the mind rather than open it. The series seeks to depict familiar images in an extraordinary manner in order to try to draw on the redemptive quality of art echoing the often-cited promise of salvation.

The last Temptation of the Prophet

Today the majority of the world’s population lives with a level of consciousness that is not beyond the mythical stage considered to be fundamentally religious. Thus believing in a God external to oneself and recognizing and identifying with this superior being, object or personality. This identification employs a logical process requiring duality, and thus supporting the individual’s personal psychological identity, separate from and in addition to the idea or personality identified as a God.

A great part of the western world has attained the level of consciousness that can be identified as rational, scientific and informational and to a greater or lessor extent includes egalitarian pluralistic cultural principals.

Today we are seeing further transformation into a new level of consciousness that is expanding the acceptance of the idea behind pluralistic societies past simple tolerance to the inclusion of various elements of different ethnic, cultural, and religious philosophies. Thus incorporating components of the rational and scientific level of thought processes with a previous level based on religious fundamentalism and then combined them with the principals of a milti-cultural, egalitarian society.

This integration of different ethnic, cultural, and religious ideologies and levels of thought processes has defined a unique theory of evolution that describes this new level of consciousness.  The effect that this more tolerant and inclusive stage of awareness has on a society is to allow for less divergence between cultures resulting in less energy spent on either attacking or defending an opposing social philosophy and thus permitting a greater harmony between societies. The greatest limiting factor will of course be any previous social philosophy or religious precept that refuses the right of a society to “question everything” and “include anything” thereby denies any advancement of the levels of consciousness of the individual and thus the society itself.

The last Temptation of the Prophet attacks religious institutions that deny the individual the right to question the religious principals upon which a “faith” is based and to investigate the validity and accuracy of the documentation associated with these ideologies.

This work violates such laws as set out by most of these ideologies, but the most injurious of to the advancement of civilization is Islam, to which this artwork demonstrates complete disregard for moral boundaries concerning its doctrines.

It breaches the usual conventions of religious art first by depicting the human form and by the use of sacred language forbidden by the Quran, thereby denying the distinction between the divine and the human. This is an assertion of artistic authority over religious dominance refusing to be deterred by the punishment set out for such offence.

More importantly, the work depicts the moment at which the Prophets, whether Christ, Mohammad or the Buddha, attain enlightenment, thus denying the sanctity of the event by referring to it in philosophical and metaphysical rather than religious terms.

Enlightenment is as difficult to explain, as it is to experience and has been described as an event that is attained with awareness and insight into one’s own identity in a metaphysical sense. Achieved through mental focus on an 'awareness of being', the individual’s attention is turned within himself and given to his/her own existence involving logic that denies the duality required for the rational description of self.

Interpreted in psychological terms it is the denial of the ego or self as an objective entity separate from the whole and acceptance of the idea of a view of self as a part of the whole. An analogy would be to identify oneself as a wave on the sea, the moment of enlightenment would remove the sense of self and the wave is no longer seen as separate from the sea but rather a part of it. This acceptance of being part of the whole eliminates all desires and returns the individual to an essence of the divine; wholeness.

Within many religious and philosophical texts this is a moment of clarity, achieved after many days of meditation and soul searching, where the great Prophets speak of being confronted by an apparition. This is the last attempt of the ego or self to maintain their identity by trying to tempt these Prophets with an Archangel, Devil, or “God” in one guise or another in order to maintain the idea of self and appose the truth evidenced with the transcendence of the ego, seeing through the illusion that the “ego” creates.





69cm, 40cm, 53cm (Height, Width, Depth)
Edition of 3 plus 1 Artist Proof
Figurative, Realistic
Body, Society
All artworks from Blake Ward
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