Qinza Inter-Disciplinary Artist

Myth? Or Fact? Can there be, was there ever a female pope? Perhaps. Her name was Joan, excluded from the official list of popes or Bishops of Rome, but nonetheless reported to be a woman as a man and became, by her character and talents, a curial secretary, then a Cardinal and finally Pope. According to legend, one day, while mounting a horse, Pope Joan gave birth to a child. Immediately, by Roman justice she was bound by the feet to a horse's tail, dragged, and stoned by the people for half a league, where she died. Upon her burial mound is written: "Petre, Pater Patrum, Papisse Prodito Partum" [Oh Peter, Father of Fathers, Betray the childbearing of the woman Pope]. At the same time, the four-day fast called the "fast of the female Pope" was first established.

In this study for tribute to Pope Joan, the artist offers a recuperation of the legend of the female Pope, replacing the image of the Pontiff with that of 20th century pop singer Madonna. The work also makes reference to the ritual then established in the Catholic church in order to assure that the Pope himself was indeed himself; the ritual, variously known as the sedia stercoraria – which translates as the 'dung chair'– or rather more understandably, as the 'pierced chair'—the artist presents as the object used to test the sex of newly installed popes. Reportedly, “Any candidate chosen by his peers to occupy the papal throne was required, before his election could be verified, to sit on this elaborate seat while a young cardinal took advantage of the design to touch his testicles.” Herein the artist points to the patricial power of religion and its fundamentally psychosexual basis