Thursday, December 9, 2010

Joan is Everywhere

It seems not a week goes by that a Joan of Arc reference does not catch my ear or eye, or someone sends me an article or a photograph about something week it was a friend visiting Ireland who snapped a photo of a Joan of Arc piece of stained glass in a church there..a few weeks later, another friend read an article in the New York Times about a piece of graffitti featuring Joan (above image, and full article at 10/27 issue)...last week someone sent me a photo of the golden Joan statue in the Place des Pyramides in Paris (the one ours in the Quarter replicates)...

And this week, I heard the lyrics to a song on the radio that I've heard before, but it struck me anew...the grouping of these three together--Cause she's so high, high above me, she's so lovely...She's so high, like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite ("She's So High" by Fastball) --because I had just read a review of a new book by Cleopatra, noting especially how she continues to be reinterpreted by everyone who writes about her, especially in terms of how threatening she was to men (with a focus more on her sexual prowess than her political abilities), how she "is" Elizabeth Taylor just as Joan "is" Ingrid Bergman to many...and how admiring contemporary males were of her, most notably Octavian, who was disappointed he could not capture her alive but was nonetheless impressed by his enemy's "lofty spirit". Sound familiar?
Thinking about Joan's relationship to other near-mythical female figures (and truly mythical, like Aphrodite) and her continuing relevance in pop culture is an ongoing fascination for me and it's why we had a Joan of Arc book club the first year and a full day conference about her (The Joan of Arts Fete) the second year. It's why as we approach 2012 and her 600th birthday we'll be planning more and other events about her (look for the Fete in May 2011 between her victory day of May 8 and her feast day of May 31). The possibilities for discussion and conversation and art-making surrounding Joan are inexhaustible...which is lucky for us in The Joan of Arc Project. Never a dull moment, and never a week without a connection made through Joan's legacy and light.