English Cathedral to install ‘Last Supper’ mural featuring a Black Jesus

As Black Lives Matter protests sweep across the globe, support for the movement has come out in new and interesting ways. 

Now, a painting of The Last Supper, which depicts Jesus as a Black man, is set to be displayed at St Albans Cathedral. 

St Albans Cathedral is replacing a nativity scene with a painting of The Last Supper, in which Jesus is a Black man. 

The piece of art is 9ft and is titled A Last Supper. It will be displayed as a sign of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Artist Lorna May Wadsworth is responsible for reworking the famous mural by Leonardo da Vinci. However, Wadsworth used a Jamaican-born model as the subject of Jesus. Regarding the new painting, 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.” 

The Cathedrals decision to install the masterpiece comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury requested that the Church of England start reconsidering the ways that Christ is portrayed, acknowledging the problematic nature of his “white-washed” portrayals. In a statement about the piece, the Cathedral revealed:

“At St Albans Cathedral we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement to be allies for change – building a strong, just and fair community where the dignity of every human being is honoured and celebrated; where black voices are heard, and where black lives matter.” 

The painting is set to replace another piece of artwork which depicts a traditional nativity scene. It will be available for viewing between 4th July, and 31st October 2020.