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Path to Paradise: panel IX

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Sister

2010-2012
42 x 31 in. (106.7 x 78.7 cm)

Judith Schaechter
American

Object Type: Glass
Medium and Support: Stained-glass panel
Credit Line: Courtesy Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem, and the artist
Accession Number: EX2020.DG1.26
Link to this object
Location: Currently away on loan

This figure was originally installed in cell block 14 of the Eastern State Penitentiary as part of the Weeping Chorus, which comprises three figures representative of the sorrow and struggles of family members (mother, daughter, sister) left behind by their imprisoned loved ones. The thin vertical central panel on Sister was the original work installed at the penitentiary. Later, Schaechter created the decorative panels on either side of the figure. These are filled with traditional stained-glass quarries (diamond-shaped pieces) and her recognizable kaleidoscopic patterns.

The pose of the figure in Sister references Jesus on the cross, as well as Phan Thị Kim Phúc, the nine-year-old Vietnamese girl photographed in 1972 as she fled, with third-degree burns, from a napalm attack on her village in Vietnam. This photo by Nick Ut—named by Time magazine as one of the one hundred images that “changed the world”—captures the brutal horrors of war and, like Schaechter’s image, forces us to confront its devastating impact upon innocent bystanders.

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