Jesus` Image When thinking of the physical image of Jesus Christ, one usually pictures a middle aged white, bearded male. This has been a common image for centuries; however, it is now the year 2000 and everything is changing.
During this period of change and to celebrate the millennium and observe Christ’s birth, the National Catholic Reporter decided to sponsor an international contest which invited artists to conceive new images of Christ. Janet McKenzie’s painting “Jesus of the People” represents the complete antithesis of the common overused image of Jesus. McKenzie’s painting portrays Jesus as not white but black, not male but androgynous. Her image has shocked many and received many varying responses.Order now
Personally, I think that this portrayal is amazing. It’s avant-garde and ahead of the times. The world is changing in all aspects and I believe that this new image of Jesus is extremely appropriate in that the world is no longer predominately run by wealthy white males. Although some may not accept McKenzie’s work now, I think that in time it will become more and more appropriate and desirable. McKenzie’s Jesus seems to be calm and relaxed. I strongly agree with Sister Wendy Beckett’s comment of Jesus gazing back at viewers with “ineffable dignity.”
Although he/she appears to be at ease, he/she also suggests a state of Dombrowski 2 deep thought and contemplation. His physical characteristics and stance are also quite interesting. As he/she stands with his/her arms crossed and closed, he/she still appears loving. I believe that this feeling comes from his/her facial expression. Yet although his/her arms are crossed shut, it almost seems that he/she is embracing someone or something. It’s inviting as if he/she wants to be holding the viewer.
In conclusion, Janet McKenzie’s “Jesus of the People” is a work of art both representative of the times yet parallel to old ideas. I admire her courage to portray Jesus in her personal unique view and respect her vision. I believe that it is time that our common image of Jesus transforms into one which is more universal and acceptable by all races and both genders.