Even the most undereducated of Americans (perhaps especially the most undereducated of Americans) are familiar with the image of The Last Supper, most notably as painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The Catholic church turned it into an army of believers, Dan Brown turned it into an obnoxious cultural phenomenon, and Hobby Lobby undoubtedly turned it into a series of hideous place mats. It's quite the popular piece, I'll have you know.
I have already made my requisite Da Vinci Code reference, and there's no way in hell I'm making another one.
However, those same undereducated Americans may not be aware that there exists an entire subset of these paintings (prints, lithographs, etc...) that resemble the original Last Supper design in every conceivable way, except that Jesus and all of his bread-gobblin' buddies are portrayed as being black.
This in and of itself isn't all that surprising, as the world of art is filled with unoriginal people such as myself who solicit a great deal of pride from taking a common image, altering it in some way, then proclaiming that they've made it into some sort of a "statement". But what's odd here is that a black-ification seems to be the only racial change that's being thrust upon this classic piece. There aren't any Asian last suppers out there, or Native American, or Indian, or Hispanic, or even Aryan, just black ones.
And the lord said unto his stereotypes, "Let there be grape drink."
I also stumbled across this Rastafarian version of the painting, which somehow manages to make less sense than the first one. Welcome to the Jamaican equivalent to sculpting a crucifix with Buddha on it, please enjoy your stay:
Lorda-mercy, one of you here has already betrayed me. Cho. Also, I jerked the living fuck out of this squash - that shit's gonna be grub.
Anyway, I bought one of these posters for myself, as I thought it'd be an entertaining picture to screw around with. Tragically, my primary inspiration in alteration came from old Colt .45 advertisements featuring the immortal Billy Dee Williams. This was probably the single worst place I could have looked to for insight on black culture, but I guess it's too late for me to study the plight of singing birds in cages and the stirring overtures of Stokely Carmichael now. Oops.
Christ tested, Colonel approved.
The end result, as you can plainly see, is an image that makes considerably less sense than the entirely nonsensical image it replaced. "So you're saying that racism is bad, and you're showing that by covering this poster with racist imagery?"
Yep, that was pretty much the idea. Powerful, isn't it?
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Labels: Art Nauseam