Pietà comprises an Associated Press wire-photo from 1992 of an Afghan mother at the funeral for her infant child in Kabul. The image has been overlaid with ultramarine pigment sourced from lapis lazuli mines in Badakhshan -- northeast of where the original photograph was taken -- leaving only the text exposed.
Owing to its scarcity during the Renaissance, lapis was reserved for painting the robes of the Virgin Mary in depictions of the Madonna and Child. The work makes reference to Western photojournalism's well-worn repertoire of Christian iconographic tropes as well as the Islamic prohibition on anthropomorphic imagery.
Pietà, 2012. AP wire-photo overlaid with Afghan lapis lazuli; 7 x 8 inches.