St Albans Cathedral supports Black Lives Matter with installation featuring black Jesus

PUBLISHED: 15:22 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:29 01 July 2020

A Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth depicts Jesus has a black man. Picture: Lorna May Wadsworth

A Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth depicts Jesus has a black man. Picture: Lorna May Wadsworth

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St Albans Cathedral has shown its support for the Black Lives Matter movement with a new installation depicting Jesus as a black man.

Lorna May Wadsworth's original work, A Last Supper, has been installed at St Albans Cathedral in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Barney CokelissLorna May Wadsworth's original work, A Last Supper, has been installed at St Albans Cathedral in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Barney Cokeliss

As the cathedral reopens its doors to the public from July 4, visitors will be able to see the installation – a detailed, high resolution print of A Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth.

The work is an original composition of the scene made famous by Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century mural painting for the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazia, in Milan. In Wadsworth’s 2009 version, Christ is depicted as a black man.

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The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, said: “The church is not in a strong position to preach to others about justice, racial or otherwise.

A Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth depicts Jesus has a black man. Picture: Lorna May WadsworthA Last Supper by Lorna May Wadsworth depicts Jesus has a black man. Picture: Lorna May Wadsworth

“But our faith teaches that we are all made equally in the image of God, and that God is a God of justice. Black Lives Matter, so this is why we have turned our Altar of the Persecuted into a space for reflection and prayer with Lorna’s altarpiece at the heart.”

Lorna May Wadsworth explained: “Painting the Last Supper altarpiece made me really think about how we are accustomed to seeing Jesus portrayed.

“Experts agree he would most likely have had Middle Eastern features, yet for centuries European artists have traditionally painted Christ in their own image. I cast Jamaican-born model, Tafari Hinds, as my Jesus to make people question the Western myth that he had fair hair and blue eyes.

“My portrayal of him is just as ‘accurate’ as the received idea that he looked like a Florentine. I also knew that, from a previous portrait of Tafari, there is something in his countenance that people find deeply empathetic and moving, which is the overriding quality I wanted my Christ to embody.”


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