Fourth Station - Jesus meets his afflicted mother

To what can I liken you, to what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What likeness can I use to comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.

4. Jesus meets his afflicted mother—Claire Beorn Norman, cut paper on canvas
Northwest Coast art is rarely just representational; it is a symbolic art form, drawing on the rich lore of the tribes of the Pacific coast in which the salmon is a prominent theme. The salmon is honored and celebrated by all coastal peoples as a powerful symbol of self-sacrifice, regeneration, and perseverance. According to one Coast Salish artist, “It is said that the Salmon People took pity on our lives and gave themselves to save us.”

In reality, every salmon parent sacrifices itself, fighting the current to return to its birthplace to spawn, and then to die, so that life can continue in its offspring. But in this allegorical piece, the roles are reversed. The mother salmon encircles her wounded son, guarding him with her body although it is clearly futile: he has felt the fisher’s spear and is bound to die. Violating the privacy of this tragic moment is a crowd of pitiless onlookers, who have yet to realize that they, too, are wounded.

Fourth Station - Jesus meets his afflicted mother