Triptych 011 : One with Nineveh and Tyre
“One with Nineveh and Tyre”
2018 mixed media on canvas
200 x 270 cm
by Angel Correa
Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘Recessional’ was written for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and it commemorated the 60th anniversary of her reign. It is said to be one of Kipling’s most enigmatic compositions.
Although Kipling was apparently not a particularly religious man, he shared my appreciation for the sacred nature of religious texts. His was a warning that a country’s earthly conquests must be considered in context of the profundity of the mighty work of God.
In particular, Kipling warns that a sense of noble sacrifice and fellowship is soon accompanied by troubling fragility, and it is the latter which stains the soil of a nation-state’s collective memory. He makes compelling reference to the fallen empires of Nineveh and Tyre, serving as admonition that humility can follow valour like night follows day.
What struck me from Kipling’s poem was the sense that the fragility and humility is surely individual, before it can manifest in the mind of a nation. So many men and women who serve return to day-to-day life with ‘a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart’ (Psalm 51). They struggle with injury; both physical and emotional, and they typically struggle with a great deal more.
The intent of “One with Nineveh and Tyre” is to remind the viewer of the schism between valour and humility, and to depict the uneasy struggle which accompanies a return to normal life for those lucky enough to return at all.