Today’s Advent offering is a brand new work from Iain Campbell, who is artist-in-residence at St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow, Scotland. He recently unveiled this beautiful contemporary depiction of the Last Supper, titled ‘Our Last Supper’. The painting features men from Glasgow’s City Mission – a Christian charity that cares for vulnerable adults who are impacted by poverty, unemployment, and other social problems.
According to Campbell, viewers are usually surprised by the ordinariness of the figures in the painting, in contrast to the more idealized portrayals of Jesus and his disciples we usually see in Christian art. But, as he explains, ‘There’s a sense that there are some real raw stories behind the faces in the painting…We decided to call the painting Our Last Supper. It was based on something one of the guys had said to me: ‘I suppose for any one of us this might be our last supper.'”
This is a powerful painting – I love the way it strips away the romanticization of the Last Supper tradition, which we often see in artistic portrayals, and brings to the fore themes of community in the midst of hardship, and the grim reality that this common meal is necessitated by poverty and misfortune. There is no messiah here, just a gathering of men with a shared sense of need and first-hand experience of marginalization, who look towards us and ask us to acknowledge they are there.
For further details of this painting and the artist, see the feature on the BBC Scotland website here.