Family time: Dublin hosts Pope and his niece’s art exhibition

It’s family time for the Bergoglios this week, with Pope Francis visiting Dublin for the World Meeting of Families and his niece Cristina exhibiting artwork at a Dublin gallery.

Artist, author and architect Cristina Bergoglio is exhibiting her paintings, many of which were inspired by one of Francis’s favorite themes: bridges.

Much of Francis’s pontificate has been centred on the motto “build bridges, not walls.”

He has made this comment numerous times in relation to immigrants and refugees, and to promote coming together and dialogue as the path to peace.

His niece says besides reflecting the geometry she loves using to strengthen her work, bridges represent “communication.”

Bridges “embody the link between our little self we call our personality and where all of what we call ‘problems’ reside and our wise part, our inner teacher,” she says.

“Our wise part is always at peace and out of the drama that we interpret with the physical senses.”

Even though Cristina and Francis have met only once at the Vatican, – where she gave him a painting of Assisi – they both in their own ways spread a similar message of communication and dialogue.

Both see bridges as structures that provide peace and stability.

“All my work, both in painting and in literature, has a message: we are more than what we perceive with the senses,” Cristina says.

“Our spiritual dimension is reflected in the ‘atmospheres’ that I express in my cities. And the buildings, the cars, the streets, represent ‘the transitory nature’ of our experience.”

Cristina says she sees it as a positive sign that she will be exhibiting her work in Dublin during her uncle’s visit to the city.

“I take it as a nod from the universe that says: Cris, you’re on the right track.

“I do not need the personal [attention], although I deeply love my uncle. But I am very discreet and understanding of his agenda. Surely, if he was not so busy, he would visit my exhibition. I feel he already does so in his heart.”

Cristina says she bases her life on the concept of “happiness and peace,” away from the busyness and chaos of daily life portrayed in her artwork.

“The true spiritual path is where you are sitting,” she says.

“It is completing yourself knowing you are already safe.”


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