ATTAINING HEAVEN: Towards the heart of Jesus.


   © Photos and Texts: María Tudela

"Attaining Heaven" is a journey and search with my camera for the monuments that contain the iconography of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the region of Murcia. I could not find the words to explain what impelled me to carry out this project, what drove me to initiate it or what it was that caught me so strongly in these places. I was the most surprised of all.

The Christ of the Heart is a religious symbol of protection, and is frequently found on the highest part of mountains or hills, with outstretched arms giving his blessing on everything under his sphere of protection. The devotion for this Christ caught on strongly in the east, and especially in Murcia during the 1940s to 1960s, as shown in most inaugurations. Without going into an analysis of the political-religious situation of the moment, some fact or civil or ecclesiastic authority must have promoted the fervor for this Christ, which is perhaps why there is a larger presence of these sculptures in this province, but that is only a personal interpretation.

This project is another way of presenting and showing these monuments, attempting to move away from that religious or political classical vision, to replace it with a more personal and creative vision. A project that allows me not only allows me to make a census, localize and raise awareness of the existence of many of them, that are undoubtedly largely unknown by the inhabitants of Murcia; it also gives me the opportunity to inform and condemn though my photographs the neglect and oblivion some of these works of art find themselves in.

Initially, my interest in these colossal sculptures was awoken by their surroundings, but as the work and research was taking shape, it became an unsettling adventure of emotions and sensations. Each one of these statues has a history and even though they seem similar, there is no one identical to the other. Some are renovated and others are in ruins. Some are easy to access, the road to the top of others on the other hand has been erased by decline and abandonment. Some are in complete solitude on the highest summit of the area, while others are the final part of a Via Crucis. But if they have something in common, it is the silence and peace one experiences in these places, for believers or non-believers it is impossible to remain indifferent to this beauty.

If I could convey the passion these places have awoken in me. If I could avert prejudices so people would see them as I do, as places that are captivating for their calm, quiet and landscape, but above all, if I could show them, with this work, as the wonderful works of art that they are.

Thanks to Pepe Tudela, Carmela Peregrina and Patri Pérez for accompanying me on this adventure.