9 Powerful Depictions Of Jesus In Black Art
Christ and the controversy.
In the 1950s, Martin Luther King Jr. cited 11 a.m. on Sundays as the most segregated hour in "Christian America." Whether this interesting stat still remains true is questionable, but the historical controversies between race and Christianity are not. The years of inconsistent messages, within Christian faith, have many millennials redefining their individual beliefs. Despite this spiritual redefinition movement, traditional holidays like Easter are still huge family celebrations for most people who grew up in the Black church. As the younger generation explores new faith ideas the creative community works to popularize more diverse depictions of Jesus.
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According to Christian faith, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem and crucified in Jerusalem. Both cities are found in the Middle East, but popular art often depicts Christ with stark European features causing controversy regarding what Christ really looked like. Considering colonialism and the fact that art reflects the artist, it makes sense that the most well known Christian-art pieces are white. Leonardo da Vinci's " Last Supper," Warner Sallman's "The Head of Christ" and the popular "Christ Pantocrator" are some Eurocentric examples of Christ-themed art we can all appreciate.
However, in celebration of unapologetic Blackness, here are some depictions of Jesus we can appreciate from other diverse artists.
1. "Lamentation Over The Dead Christ"
Oil on canvas 131" x 112"; by Kehinde Wiley (2008).
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A very large painting from my "Down" series entitled "The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ" 2008 oil on canvas 131"x112" #brooklynmuseum @brooklynmuseum #fallen #repose #inversion #contemporaryart #conceptualpainting @princessgloriasportrait #deitchprojects #blacklivesmatter
2. "Black Jesus"
Art print 8" x 10"; by John Campbell.
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#Easter The Celebration of Black Fathers Continues. Glory be to greatest Father of all, God, and His son Jesus. Jesus, the obedient son who gave his life that we would all be free from the bondage of sin was made in the image of his father, as are we. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 #hehasrisen #CelebrateBlackFathers #blackjesus #strongblackfathers #blackfathersandsons #BlackFathersMatter #blackfathers #blackfathersmatter #familyfirst #dysonclan #fathersongoals #daddy #michaelericdyson #michaelericdysonlegacy
3. "Descent from the Cross"
Art print 26" x 38"; by Tim Ashkar.
Christian, Ethiopian art style; by Laura James.
5. "Black Jesus"
Semi-gloss art poster, 31.2" x 46.9"; by John C. Spain (2017).
6. "Jesus With Dreads"
7. "Wales Window"
Stained glass; by John Petts (1964). A gift to the 16th Street Baptist Church after Birmingham, AL, church bombing.
8. "Black Christ"
Artwork by Rev. Canon Warner Traynham (1973).
9. "A Coptic Orthodox Christian Icon"
From Coptic Museum in Alexandria, Egypt.
Whether bearded, shaven, bronze or pink, Christ's depiction in art reflects the artist's imagination. We can appreciate that expressive freedom and the beautiful creations it manifests.
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