Was there ever a woman Pope? Some historians believe that John Anglicus was a ninth century Englishman who travelled to Athens where he gained a reputation for his knowledge of the sciences. Eventually he came to lecture at the Trivium in Rome where his fame grew even larger. He became a Cardinal, and when Pope Leo IV died in 853 A.D., he was unanimously elected pope. As Pope John VIII he ruled for two years, until 855 A.D. However, while riding one day from St. Peter's to the Lateran, he had to stop by the side of the road and, to the astonishment of everyone, gave birth to a child. It turned out that Pope John VIII was really a woman. In other words, Pope John was really Pope Joan. According to legend, upon discovering the Pope's true gender, the people of Rome tied her feet together and dragged her behind a horse while stoning her, until she died. Another legend has it that she was sent to a faraway convent to repent her sins and that the child she bore grew up to become the Bishop of Ostia. I have created this mixed media collage in honor of Pope Joan and to honor all Catholic women who are denied the ability under current canonical laws to become Pope. The piece is heavily textured, primarily in colors of gold and pink with other accents. It is created from layer after layer of imported papers, inks and iridescent paints and fibers in conjunction with a photo transfer image of a woman from the early 1900's.
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