5j (Santa’s cross) — This somewhat sacrilegious painting is more innocent than you think. For any parent, there’s a time when you have to explain to your child the connection between the Birth of Christ, Santa Claus and the all too convenient timing of both at the heathen winter solstice.

At the time of writing this, one of my two sons is eight, attends a Christian School and asks some really intelligent questions. Personally, I must admit having a really strained relationship with organised ritual religion.

The rebel nun in this motif might sum that up, somehow. Take offence if you must, but remember that is an active choice. My intention with this work is not to piss on anyone — honestly.

Title/Titel/Titel/Títolo #5j, Oil on canvas/ Öl auf Leinwand/olie på lærred/Óleo sobre tela 120x120cm, Year/Jahr/År/Ano 2021, anders dyhr.

5j santa cross in situ

At a more philosophical level, I think it is a really clever and rational stance from people as different as Rupert Sheldrake and Jordan Peterson to say that they cannot prove that God does not exist. I.e. saying s(he)/it probably does. That is also the corner I am willing to defend.

The thing that is real and magical and makes me subscribe to the spiritual, is the kindness that we can pay as rent on this planet. Not to mention, all the kindness received. That for sure is divine and resides in all of us somewhere. Everything else seems so meaningless.

For the notion of the loving and just deity, the three world religions address with the story of Job (Book of Job). It is almost a legal disclaimer to shut us up. Same goes for Jesus taking on our sins and suffering on the cross. For it makes no sense that parents survive their children, that there are wars and starvation; and more ways to suffer than words to describe them. We see nasty idiots being promoted at work, and the list of evils goes on. But again, if we do not see kindness as our framework in our fragile lives…what are we actually?

The dualism of good versus evil is tricky to say the least. We often find we intend to do some good and at the same time it turns out to be a little evil as well; and when we discover this on an increasingly frequent basis, we promise ourselves to do more good than evil before we die.

The title of this work deliberately plays on the ambivalence of Santa owning a cross, and Santa is cross (angry).

In December 2021, this painting was acquired by a private collector from Viborg, Denmark

In the series Misc you can find more paintings.