The Family Tree
Cassandra Christensen Barney
A story from a collector: "I am 12 weeks pregnant with my first child and I am loving the journey of the miracle of creation. I'm in constant awe of the growth and development of my unborn baby. It is all I think about. My story is simple. My aunt pulled me aside one day and placed in my hand an elegant gold ring with a single round emerald stone. It once belonged to my great aunt Ruth. It was her August birth stone. My baby is due in August and this was my aunt's way of congratulating me, sharing my family heritage with me, and passing on the legacy of a life well lived. I now wear that ring with the same devotion I wear my wedding ring. It represents family, past and present and the link we have to so many generations. I realize my baby is the next link in this family chain and that brings me great joy."
Life is an ongoing series of miracles. Everyone has something to be thankful for or someone they should be saying “Thank You” to. Prayers, large and small, are answered daily, often without recognition.
Ex voto is Spanish for votive offering. Ex votos are paintings offered to deity or saint as a thank you for an answered prayer. Traditionally, the ex voto can be signed by the petitioner, dated and explains why the giver is giving thanks. In many cases, they tell a very touching personal story. The personal nature of these stories is what makes them so fascinating.
“These little artworks are painted out of gratitude for the miracles, protection and prayers answered not only in my life, but for many of us,” says artist Cassandra Barney. “In conceiving these, it didn’t seem that I was illustrating ideas, but sharing and exchanging them."
Each ex voto celebrates the exceptional nature of the common and the uncommon: friendship, love, life, family and self. They recognize the divine nature of those things. This collection is styled with the look of the Mexican tin-paneled works and they are designed to be hung in groupings. As gifts, they are the perfect message at the perfect time. Life is full of blessings and Cassandra Barney’s Ex Votos give us the opportunity to share our recognition of this with beauty and grace.