I painted these two artworks in the first lockdown in Vienna in March/April 2020. I just came back from a trip to Mexico, where I met the bat researcher Rodrigo Medellín in the jungle of Calakmul. I then started my corona series ‘Bat rules – kingdom comes’. In my series the bats fight back and overrule the planet in the form of a big party.

Saint Corona is an early Christian martyr.

In 177 A.D., the then 16 year-old Corona was cruelly executed after she had stood by her husband Victor, who had been arrested for persecuting Christians. Sadly, Corona was tied between two bent palm trees, which tore her apart as she skyrocketed.

Corona is the patron saint of money, the treasure hunter, the butcher and the woodcutter. She is worshipped for her steadfastness in faith and is called upon to prevent storms, crop failure and (animal) diseases.

Holy Corona (2020), 150x89cm, eggtempera on paper

When I painted these 2 holy coronas, I was in the state of inner peace and I felt like an observer. The holy Corona fits perfectly in the year 2020 with the pandemic: the first painting warns of destroying the rainforest, the horrible conditions on wildlife markets and the killing of dying races.

The dove holds a ribbon with ‘FAITH’ written on it. On the day when I painted it, singer Marianne FAITHful was taken to hospital due to Covid-19.

Corona Rising (2020), 150x89cm, eggtempera on paper. Currently exhibited  in the Dom St. Martin in Eisenstadt, Austria.

For “Corona rising“ she has freed herself from earthly treasures, her view is towards spiritual wealth. Bats carry her crown (bats carry the corona virus), flowers are blooming and everything that counts is LOVE.

I feel these pictures are beautiful, because they speak so clearly.

Mari Otberg: “Real beauty to me means sensitivity, soul, courage, humanity, kindness, solidarity, romance, charity, meta-level”


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