School of Communication and Digital Content
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA)
Art, Painting, Infertility, Empathy, Stigma, Biblical
Art and Design | Christianity
Candari, Esther Hi'ilani, "Barren: A Case Study Using Art in Religious Instruction to Foster Empathy by Providing Deeper Insight and Encouraging Contemporary Dialogue" (2020). Masters Theses. 619.
This thesis draws upon a review of current literature related to the empathy-building potential of fine art and experiences of infertile women, especially those within Judeo-Christian communities, to build a case study for utilizing fine art to create stronger more empathetic communities. For this case study, the researcher utilized an online survey of infertile Judeo-Christian women to further clarify the specific needs of this minority group. Then she drew upon a broad array of current and historical literature and artwork to discern what cultural and theological trends may have framed infertility as a stigma. Using this information she then produced a series of three paintings aimed to spark constructive conversation and increase understanding and empathy within the selected communities. These paintings, which depict the Biblical stories of three infertile women —Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah—were executed in a realist tradition with special effort made to communicate emotional and historical nuance, breaking from the stereotypical miracle and natal-centric narratives of western art history and Judeo-Christian theological tradition.