Thy Will Be Done, Chester Arnold Essay

Among all paintings, Chester Arnold’s “Thy Will Be Done” attracts me the most. It gives me a sense of intricate and dreadful feelings. The painting depicts an uneven and muddy construction landscape where construction materials scattered are everywhere. Unfinished constructions may still be seen on the left portion where blocks are scattered and unfinished. However, one will not notice such scattered construction materials because they are overpowered by the images of people in vivid shades of orange, blue, yellow, green and white. These people are involved in different kinds of activities thus giving the painting an active and busy appearance.

Most of the activities are occurring in the center and lower portions of the painting where there are people being beaten, bodies being carried away and hauled inside the back of what looks like big cargo trucks, and graves being dug. Here and there are several cops trying to maintain discipline and to settle down disputes. At the upper portions of the painting are spectators, looking at what is happening in the painting.  Looking closer, I can see a bald man dressed in blue crouching helplessly somewhere near the center of the painting. He reminds me of being unable to give aid in many situations. I immediately think of something that happened yesterday, which made me feel desperate, but unable to do anything to help.

The incident concerns my grandfather. He is 92 years old and is living with my family in Hong Kong. He is often left alone because my parents and my brother have to go to work every day except on weekends. In addition, my sister and I study overseas. To make up, I call him every day and try my best to show him that someone still cares about him and that he is not alone. However, yesterday, I called him and what he told me made me feel depressed. He told me he went to his hometown the day before to buy a piece of land that will be used as a graveyard. A sob welled up in my throat. I was speechless. I was sitting on the floor, helpless.

I do not know what to say or what I can do to help. Although I know that everyone has to face his or her own death, I cannot face the fact that my dearest grandpa is preparing for his oncoming death, and possibly on his own. I sat on the floor like that man on the painting struggling with emotions. Like him, I faced the possibility of death, although not of my own, and could not do anything about it. Depression leads, almost invariably, to difficult situations. However, people still retain some degree of power even when their spirits are low.

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I would like to place the painting next to the entrance gate of the airport where travelers from different parts of the world must walk by and at least give a quick glance of the painting. The painting may show the viewers violent and disturbing scenes. However, it also shows positive acts of helping people. People go to different countries for many reasons, most of which are beautiful. Some go for vacations and to see beautiful places. Some go to work to have a beautiful life. Some go to visit people and have a beautiful time with families and friends.

This painting ought to remind them that despite all these beauties, there are harsh realities both inside and outside the country they are entering that may be ugly and despairing. Not every people experience the beauty of life. Many are facing ugly things such as hunger, pain and death. These people need help. The painting should serve as a reminder to people to look not only at the beautiful things, but also on the ugly things, and when they see these ugly things, what they should do is not to scorn, but rather to help.

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