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Pintura de Jesus negro chama a atenção em reabertura de catedral histórica

A obra retrata a Santa Ceia e está exposta na Catedral de Saint Albans, na Inglaterra

Por Júlia Warken - Atualizado em 5 jul 2020, 20h21 - Publicado em 5 jul 2020, 13h47

A reabertura da Catedral de Saint Albans virou notícia no mundo todo por conta de uma novidade. Trata-se de um quadro da Santa Ceia, em que Jesus é um homem negro. Imponente, a catedral foi construída em 1877 e tem enorme valor histórico. O local era originalmente um mosteiro, que data do final do século 8. Localizada na cidade de Saint Albans, a cerca de 35 km de Londres, ela recebe visitantes do mundo inteiro. 

O quadro é assinado pela artista Lorna May Wadsworth e tem 2,6 metros de comprimento. Ele passou a compor o chamado Altar dos Perseguidos, local de orações na ala norte da catedral. Segundo a BBC, a igreja informou que a decisão foi tomada em apoio ao movimento Black Lives Matter – que ganhou muita força recentemente, após o assassinato de George Floyd nos Estados Unidos. A intenção é convidar as pessoas a “olhar com olhos renovados para algo que você pensa que já conhece”.

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We’re deeply grateful to the artist Lorna May Wadsworth who’s given us permission to use her striking painting of A Last Supper as part of a prayer installation. In the painting Jesus is a black man, and so calls us to ‘look with fresh eyes at something you think you know’. At St Albans Cathedral we stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement to be allies for change – building a just and compassionate community where the dignity of every human being is honoured and celebrated; where black voices are heard, and where black lives matter. The installation can be seen from Saturday 4 July at the Altar for the Persecuted in the North Transept.

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Nas redes sociais, a escolha vem dividindo opiniões. Há quem alegue que Jesus jamais seria negro tendo nascido em Belém, na Palestina. Shelley Hayles, representante do Black Lives Matter em Saint Albans, rebate esses comentários. “Grande parte da nossa sociedade não tem problema em aceitar um retrato impreciso do Jesus ‘branco’, mas são rápidos a questionar o Jesus ‘preto’ e esse é só mais um exemplo do racismo sistêmico no Reino Unido”. 

A pintura é de 2010 e já foi depredada. No ano passado, Lorna May reparou um pequeno furo na tela e uma análise balística chegou à conclusão de que se tratava de um tiro de rifle. Na época, ela estava exposta na Igreja de Saint George, em Gloucestershire, também na Inglaterra. 

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A Last Supper at @stalbanscathedral As a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dean of St Albans Cathedral, Dr Jeffrey John, requested a fine art print copy of Wadsworth’s A Last Supper be hung in the Altar of the Persecuted in the North Transept. Inspired by this important gesture, Lorna has decided to offer to make further high-quality print copies of the painting – purely on a cost price basis – for other churches and religious organisations. Wadsworth forged her career and reputation with a series of celebrated representations of sitters from the worlds of politics, entertainment and literature, but it is her 2009 depiction of the last supper, with Christ as a black man, that has most recently achieved iconic status. The original version of the 12-foot-long oil on aluminium reworking of Leonardo’s Last Supper currently hangs in St George’s Church in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. It was painted entirely from life with Jesus represented by Jamaican-born fashion model, Tafari Hinds. In 2019, the painting made national news, when the artist discovered it had been shot whilst supervising the scanning, while in situ behind the altar of St. George’s. The damage occurred on Christ’s right side, the same place that Longinus, a Roman centurion, pierced the body of Jesus with his spear as he hung from the cross. She says: “The underlying narrative of my work is the female gaze. Throughout art history we have viewed figurative painting though the eyes and ideals of men. I seek to challenge this orthodoxy and in my Last Supper I offered a fresh interpretation by using beautiful models as the disciples. I also wanted to question the western myth that Jesus had fair hair and blue eyes by casting him as black, which in my view, is just as 'accurate' as the received idea that he looked like a Florentine. “When the work was loaned for my recent retrospective exhibition GAZE at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield, I took the opportunity for the work to be scanned. This means the altarpiece can now be printed at scale and installed in any church around the world.

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These wintery mornings make the Cathedral and the orchard look particularly lovely

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