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Is religious iconography inherently more powerful and potent when it is illicit?

Inspired by the Chicano mural movement that swept Los Angeles in the 1960s, these public paintings of the Virgin and other religious figures are evidence of the ways Latinos are reshaping their experience of public space in American cities.

My academic work, which touches on media, religion, and digital culture, is all the richer for having spent countless hours walking, sitting, and reflecting in the small oasis that we’ve come to call home.

An Anglican church near the village of Blackville in central New Brunswick, Canada, with a neon cross atop its steeple.

I see this painting as a depiction of the path of life. It carries us through our ups and downs, points of rest and clarity, and constant confrontation with mortality.

I think if we start to think about it more as a practice and a way that we can actually be in the world, then I think we’ll actually wake up and be more successful at following in the footsteps of the Buddha.