Contemporary votive illustrations: Darkness into light

To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.

Polly Alizarin Harvey: darkness into light

Polly Alizarin Harvey: darkness into light

Polly Alizarin Harvey’s latest illustration is for this story:

I had 17 years of unnaturally bad luck after doing Ouija boards when I was in my teens. I thought at the time they were just fun, but realised as time went on that they had opened a door in the spiritual realm that was quite real, and horrible. I visited a church where the curate announced God had told him that there was someone here who’d had a lot of problems with Ouija boards they’d done years ago! I was amazed. I decided I couldn’t take any more disaster and cried out, asking God to help me. I said I would take Jesus as my saviour and become a Christian. I received prayer to cut me off from my past involvement and later, while alone, heard a voice that said to me, “it is Finished”. I knew it was God and prayed all day for Him to explain! The next day by pure ‘coincidence’ I read that Jesus had said those words on the cross to declare that his death had defeated all evil. In fact they are considered by some to be the most famous words in the Bible. Since then (about ten years now) my life had been full of blessings! It has been amazing!

C Ashenden, London, 2003. For Jesus, for turning darkness into light.

You can find out more about Polly Alizarin Harvey’s work and explore more votive illustrations on the Wellcome Collection website.

Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.

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