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In the book of Genesis, Noah sent out a dove over the waters after the great flood in order to see how far the floodwaters had receded. In the Song of Songs and elsewhere, the dove is also used as a term of endearment. The "peace dove" became a common Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit from the scriptures (Matthew 3:16). Doves and the pigeons are respected and favored by Islamic cultures, because they are believed to have assisted the final prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in distracting his enemies outside the cave of Thawr in the great Hijra. However, in addition to the numerous references found in literature, poetry, and religion that use the dove and pigeon, my artistic affinity to this bird relates more to its true temperament and its aesthetic appearance. It's demure beauty is graceful and compelling. To me, the dove and pigeon embodies serenity, sensitivity, and a universal image of peace. People of varying religious faiths, diverse cultures, agnostics and even atheists - all can appreciate the modest nature of this gentle and delicate creature. The song of a dove stirs deep emotions within the human heart. The wide-eyed innocence on the bird's face coupled with its soft coo touches the human soul. To me, the bird represents the freedom of the spirit and when I create images with the dove it celebrates this freedom; the dove calls to the lonely, the exiled, the wounded, and the imprisoned. It is the melody for new lovers and the ballad of sorrow for mourners. When the dove flies or perches atop a rooftop, I am reminded of the human need for peace, refuge, freedom, and love.
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