From Baltimore’s Catholic Review:
Wayman Scott IV couldn’t sleep.
Even as a professional grief counselor at Gilchrist Hospice whose job is to help others grapple with loss, the 43-year-old husband and father was reeling from news of the murder of the daughter of one of his colleagues.
“I knew the agony I felt was 10 times worse for my friend,” remembered Scott, a parishioner of Church of the Nativity in Timonium and an up-and-coming African-American artist.
In his anguish, Scott drove to Baltimore Clayworks in Mount Washington, where he had been working on a sculpture similar to Michelangelo’s famous Pietà showing the Blessed Virgin Mary cradling her lifeless son. Scott had already largely finished the image of Christ and the body of Mary, but hadn’t started on Mary’s face.
“It just came to me in the middle of the night in my pain.”
Through tears in an empty studio late at night, Scott pressed fingers into clay. With the loss of his friend’s daughter consuming his mind, he steadily transformed a lump of earth into the countenance of a mourning mother.
Unlike the Italian Renaissance sculptor’s serene Mary, Scott’s depiction shows a woman with her mouth open in a scream. The African-American figure’s brow is furrowed as she gazes heavenward, away from the dreadlocked Jesus she clutches with both arms.
Scott said he normally has difficulty sculpting without looking at some representative figure.
“I don’t know whose face this is,” he said, gesturing to Mary’s anguished visage in his miniature Pietà. “I almost find this to be a miracle because it just came to me in the middle of the night in my pain.”
For Scott, art is a way to cope with the challenges of life. In his hands, the medium of clay becomes an instrument of healing.