Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Possibilities of Sainthood

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The Possibilities of Sainthood

by Donna Freitas

The Possibilities of Sainthood
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 280 pages
    Aug 2010, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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Beyond the Book

Contemporary Saints
Los Angeles artist J. Michael Walker thinks a lot like Antonia Labella, heroine of The Possibilities of Sainthood. In the summer of 2008 he exhibited a series of large portraits of saints whose names are commemorated in the roads and streets of many Los Angeles neighborhoods. Each large, ink on paper portrait portrays a contemporary person as one of the saints of the City of the Angels. The portraits connect the individual stories with the histories of saints, and blend the quotidian and the miraculous.

For his paintings, Walker researched not just the Catholic saints but the 103 L.A. streets which have been named after them. In this way he created a spiritual history of the city and a "saint map" of Los Angeles. People living and working on these streets found their way into the paintings, becoming the faces of the contemporary saints. Residents of Skid Row are the inspiration for the face of San Julian, patron ...

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