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Author Topic: Return of South African "Black Christ"
lagatta
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posted 06 July 2004 09:12 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The painter of this Crucifixion depicting Christ as a former ANC leader persecuted by the Apartheid state was tortured for his artwork. Now it has returned home. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3867249.stm
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skdadl
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posted 06 July 2004 09:26 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The article doesn't say whether Harrison was also imprisoned after his torture, lagatta, or for how long, although I assume that was the case?
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lagatta
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posted 06 July 2004 09:30 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know, skdadl. I quickly googled "Black Christ" and Ronnie Harrison and no other article was as detailed as the bbc one. There were no details in the link to the Capetown Art Gallery either - what a beautiful location! I don't know whether Harrison was jailed, "banned" or exiled. If we keep our eyes peeled, I wouldn't be surprised if newspaper or arts journal articles will have further details on the story of the artist and the work.
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Gir Draxon
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posted 06 July 2004 09:38 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Although I certainly agree with the anti-apartheid sentiments, I also think that it is pretty safe to call that painting blasphemous, since it portrays an ordniary human being as the son of God.
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skdadl
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posted 06 July 2004 09:41 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But Gir, don't you think that all paintings of the Crucifixion do that? In many Renaissance paintings, eg, Christ is a very pale-skinned blond, a highly unrealistic guess at the looks of the historical Jesus.
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lagatta
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posted 06 July 2004 10:14 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is true, and one can note that in many Italian Renaissance paintings, Christ was depicted as far lighter-skinned and haired than the average person in Central Italy, let alone Palestine. There was an idea (conducive to racism) that the "light of God" was expressed through golden hair and pale skin. One can also note that his mum was often depicted, even in Crucifixion scenes, as a young girl who never aged (look at the Piet) - and a woman of fifty or so 2000 years ago was elderly.

Interesting to note that Rembrandt used models from the (largely Sephardic) Jewish community in Amsterdam for many of his models in Biblical or Gospel-inspired works.

Of course Gir is getting into territory that has sparked hundreds of years of debate and outright war among iconoclasts and anti-iconoclasts, Catholics and Protestants, Christians vs. Jews and Muslims about depicting sacred stories....


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 July 2004 10:18 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think what Gir means is that while Jesus is usually portrayed in "human" form, it's His own. In this painting, Jesus isn't Jesus, but a real person who lived on earth recently, with a name, parents, a birth certificate, etc.

That said, anyone ever hear the old Timbuk3 song "Standard White Jesus"?


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'topherscompy
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posted 06 July 2004 11:00 AM      Profile for 'topherscompy        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
if the painting is indeed blasphemous, then perhaps harrison was not jailed or exiled, but rather smoten (smited?) by an angry & vengeful god.
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paxamillion
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posted 06 July 2004 11:08 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:
Although I certainly agree with the anti-apartheid sentiments, I also think that it is pretty safe to call that painting blasphemous, since it portrays an ordniary human being as the son of God.

Have a good look in the dictionary, Gir. I don't think this fits the definition of blasphemy. It hardly fits the idea of "gross irreverence" at all. In fact, I would argue that such a depiction is consistent with some of Jesus' own parables.

The only thing that makes it "blasphemous," is that it caused discomfort to a repressive state: one whose narrow understanding of faith couldn't possibly tolerate any variance.

[ 06 July 2004: Message edited by: paxamillion ]


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lagatta
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posted 06 July 2004 11:19 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmm, "to smite" ... I'd say the past participle of that strong verb would be "smitten", but "smitten" has come to mean struck by a thunderbolt of love/lust and not struck down by an angry God.
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paxamillion
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posted 06 July 2004 11:26 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 'topherscompy:
if the painting is indeed blasphemous, then perhaps harrison was not jailed or exiled, but rather smoten (smited?) by an angry & vengeful god.

More likely an angry and vengeful government whose hatred is well-known.


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lagatta
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posted 06 July 2004 11:33 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The verb "to smite", fully conjugated!
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paxamillion
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posted 06 July 2004 11:44 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My day has now been made.
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beverly
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posted 06 July 2004 11:46 AM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm confused - didn't Jesus look like a fairly normal human being?

[ 06 July 2004: Message edited by: kuba ]


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 July 2004 01:43 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of course, but not a specific human being from the present. He wasn't, say, Jay Leno on a cross, or Mick Jagger on a cross.

Although I'm not at all religious, I can see how pasting someone's face on Jesus' body for the purpose of grinding a political axe might just be seen as blasphemous.


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WingNut
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posted 06 July 2004 02:08 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can't really. I mean, what did Jesus look like? And if anyone uses Jesus' name and image for grinding political axes, who more so than christians? I assume the artist was a christian. The real question is, what would Jesus do?

And I am no biblical scholar, but are we not all made in God's image? And if so, then isn't the artist's impression as valid as any blonde, blue-eyed Jesus?


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paxamillion
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posted 06 July 2004 02:34 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:
I can't really. I mean, what did Jesus look like? And if anyone uses Jesus' name and image for grinding political axes, who more so than christians? I assume the artist was a christian. The real question is, what would Jesus do?

There is little doubt in my mind that the historical depictions of Jesus were done to make a point. I've seen some recent attempts to depict how Jesus might have appeared -- facial structure, hair/beard, build. They don't look like anything I've seen in art.

The innocent or the good being crucified for the stand they take is one interpretation of Jesus as a symbol. It's a powerful one that I think can be rightly used when oppressors harm.


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