(DOUG JESSOP’S JESSOP’S JOURNAL – ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) There are certain experiences that touch your senses…sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Then there are some experiences that touch your soul. This episode of Jessop’s Journal is one of those.
There is something about a bronze sculpture. Unlike a painting that is in the “no touch” zone, bronzes invite a tactical connection. If you’ve ever seen a sculpture that has been touched, you will notice a certain patina.
Angela Johnson, the self-taught sculptor that has created the Light of the World Sculpture Garden, with fifteen larger than life scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah; put it this way; “With bronze, I encourage people to reverently touch the depictions of Jesus Christ. What’s really amazing is that there are certain areas where you can tell hundreds of people touch the same area. Whether it’s the marks of the nail prints in his hand in the resurrected scene of “Reach and Faith”, it’s where people reach up and they stroke an area of the statue. Because they do it’s a “love touch” and it changes coloration. It becomes gold.”
I met Angela in her studio to see a maquette scale version of her next project called “The Tree of Life Vision.” It’s awe inspiring. As I walked into her studio it is was interesting to note how high the ceilings are. We aren’t talking a small project. Come to find out that this new project features over two-hundred larger than life figures. To give you a sense of proportion, Angela pointed out a figure of a man in the middle of a lower field that was holding an unfurled banner and told me he was about twenty-two inches tall. I then had the honor of putting clay on the full-size figure of that man, titled “Captain Moroni, before it goes to the forge. That figure was seven feet tall! It is going to be a companion piece next to the Light of the World Garden and cover well over an acre.
The Tree of Life Vision sculpture is full of symbolism. There is a valley in the foreground with numerous figures of different historical and ethnic backgrounds. You are lead on a journey up a steep and rocky incline guided with an iron rod to help you towards your final destination up a hill leading to an illuminated tree. To the right of the hill there is a large, spacious building with certain ominous figures and a heavy chain. The pinnacle of the entire presentation is the figure of Jesus Christ standing under a tree with light emanating from it.
There are over two-hundred figures with intricate details. Angela pointed out that each viewer seems to be drawn towards certain characters based on their life experiences.
It is a fact that there is opposition in all things. She gave me a tour and pointed out a figure of a Mother in anguish as her child is falling down the hill. Parents have, and will always, be worried about their children. I spied a young lady, named “Innocence”, peering from behind a column in the darker side of the sculpture, which prompted a conversation with Angela about man’s inhumanity to man.
On the other side of the scale, one of the figures I loved was a small girl with outstretched arms and the most incredible look of joy on her face as she met Jesus Christ. Angela said, “The epitome of joy is the joy that they are expressing in their open arms the delight in their eyes as they are looking up at the only being who truly understands them.”
What is the message of this donation funded project? Angela got emotional and said, “This is to recreate that connection and that open discussion and that bond of love. Which in the end is more powerful than the pain? The pain terrifies us, but the love heals us. That has been and still is, the ongoing mission of Jesus Christ.”
SPECIAL NOTE: It was my honor to interview Brett & Sandy Folkman. They commissioned Angela to do a beautiful bronze of their daughter, Brooke, who died way to young. They had a deep spiritual connection and are now part of the Tree of Life Vision Foundation. You can see their special Utah Caring Story – Triumph over Trials – A Caring Story of Healing and Faith by CLICKING on the link.
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that you know that may need a reminder that there is still good in the world.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com
You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success
With another entry into Jessop’ Journal, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.