This is now part of our permanent collection.
Where to begin? First, the provenance, I guess. It was painted by a member of Deaf Connect of the Mid-South, a non-profit organization that serves the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf/blind population of Memphis. Members of this organization donated artwork to the recent production of The Miracle Worker at Germantown Community Theatre, and Renee bid on it and won.
The painting is entitled “Football.” It appears to show a ballcarrier for the Pittsburgh Steelers, #27, making some sort of heroic advance towards a distant end zone. But the problem is that, even in the long history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s never really been a famous #27. When Renee asked me who wore #27 for the Steelers, I couldn’t even answer. We had to look it up.
When we asked my brother, he answered immediately: Willie Williams. Is this Willie J. Williams, former Steelers cornerback from 1993-1995, and then again from 2004-2005? And does the painting depict this moment in his career? (See photo.)
Then Sean, from Sean’s Ramblings, suggested that it is running back Jonathan Dwyer, who currently wears #27 for the Steelers. It’s a good theory because, um, Jonathan Dwyer currently wears #27 for the Steelers. I should have thought of that.
It only gets better when one considers that the title of this painting is “Football.” That is no help at all.
(The artist had another painting up for auction entitled “Elvis.” If you had seen it, you would have noticed that the painting was not of Elvis at all, but of a Thriller-era Michael Jackson.)
Great art is often enigmatic, and even if we never learn what this painting is, we will still love it. It will remain hanging in our living room for many years to come.