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Artist Lorna May Wadsworth re-works the Last Supper

The Last Supper/Sacred or Profane

Artist Lorna May Wadsworth talks to Jumoke Fashola about her re-working of the Last Supper, which is being exhibited at St. Martin-in-the-Fields' Crypt in Trafalgar Square.

The 12 foot picture was painted entirely from life and following its exhibition in London will be installed in St George's Church, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.

Hackney artist Lorna was commissioned to create the painting following a bequest by a late parishioner in Gloucestershire who had visions of the last supper at his Church.

Lorna agreed to the undertaking, and offered to work for expenses only in return for total artistic control and on condition that Jesus could be represented by a black model called Tafari.

Lorna says, "I had painted Tafari before, a large painting 4 foot square, for my Beautiful Boys exhibition, and people were drawn to something in his face and the expression in his eyes.

"I was surprised by their reactions and seemed to have caught something of which I wasn't even aware. I knew this quality was more important than skin colour or politics or anything else. Quite simply, I knew he could move people."

Depicting love and betrayal

The Last Supper sketchings
See the full version of Lorna May Wadsworth's Last Supper painting and her charcoal drawing:

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Lorna started work on the painting in November 2008 and completed it five months later.

Of her take on one of the most famous paintings in history, Lorna says, "I saw the thirteen as a rock and roll band or a group of deeply political idealistic young guys. They are thicker than brothers, they're passionate, and their unit is their life.

"My Last Supper, like Da Vinci's, depicts the moment Jesus says 'one of you will betray me'. Imagine a lead singer saying that to his band. There would just be disbelief and devastation.

"Love and betrayal are part of the human experience, and for me art should move the human spirit, it should attempt to reveal us to ourselves."

Also on display at the exhibition in St. Martin-in-the-Fields will be Lorna's charcoal drawing of the Last Supper to show the evolution of her work.

Lorna May Wadsworth's Last Supper at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, Friday, 5th March - Sat 3rd April.

Lent on BBC London 94.9
28 Jan 10 |  Religion & Ethics
Jumoke Fashola
08 Feb 10 |  TV & Radio


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