Kim Roy, Giovanni De La Rosa, and Mark Angelo Lagrana reflect on the image of Jesus Christ through their paintings
During the many reenactments of Jesus Chirst’s last moments before his crucifixion, there is a scene that is vividly remembered by many Catholics—St. Veronica wiping the Messiah’s face with her veil. One of his final miracles, the cloth depicts the Holy Face instead of just smudges of blood and sweat.
It was so iconic that it has been the subject of many of the world’s masterpieces. But unlike the artists that were inspired by her, St. Veronica did nothing but trust her faith to produce the relic, sparing her from the hard process of how to present the face of Jesus Christ in art.
Merging religion and craft has been part of art history. But a lot goes into the creative process of making art out of religion, especially when it involves the image of Jesus Christ. An artist should find the right balance so that their work will not be seen as sacrilegious.
Biting onto the challenge are Filipino artists with works featuring the face of Jesus Christ in Art Show Philippines’ latest exhibit, “Hesukristo: Filipino Artists’ Interpretation of Jesus Christ.”
Each art piece in the exhibit presents the artists’ personal view of the Son of God. And for some, the Holy Face became a vessel for them to not only to showcase their passion but also their views about society today.
Diversity in color
Young artist Kim Roy puts his cause in his canvas by painting an image of Jesus Christ with the colors of the rainbow covering His eyes. Dubbed as “Soul not Gender,” the artwork rallies for “equality, not just the LGBTQ+ community but the people as a whole.”
“I believe Jesus Christ sees through our soul and faith,” he says. “A memory of mine, the Catholic priests always said during mass, ‘Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant us peace and unity in accordance with your will.’”
According to him, he used the color emphasis technique because it shows how powerful a single hue can be and says, “Those seven colors disturbed comfort and, by that time, that painting did its purpose.”
The true King
Giovanni De La Rosa’s “King of Kings” is all about the divinity of Jesus Christ played out through whimsical color palette and brushstrokes. But taking a closer look at the piece and one will see the numerical details he included, which represent money.
“Ang pera ay nagagamit sa mabuti at sa masama katulad ng ginawa ni Hudas na pinagpalit si Hesu Kristo sa pilak (Money can be used both for good and for evil, just like what Judas did when he choose silver over Jesus Christ),” Giovanni says.
“Sa pamamagitan ng aking obra, magsilbing sana itong inspirasyon na mag-ipon para sa kinabukasan (I hope my art will inspire everyone to save for their future),” he continues. “Maging matiyaga, mapagkumbaba, at inspirasyon sa iba (To be hardworking, humble, and an inspiration to others).”
Real image of Christ
With his artwork, Mark Angelo Lagrana asks everyone what Jesus really looks like? Presenting a faceless Messiah crowned with thorns, “Sino si Kristo” is an eerie piece made more dramatic with the artist’s monochromatic color choice.
“Walang mukha ang gawa ko kasi para sa akin isa itong tanong sa buhay natin na tanging sarili lang natin ang makakasagot (There is no face in my work because this question is one we could only answer by ourselves),” Mark says. “Ang totoong itsura ni Hesu Kristo ay nakadepende sa kung ano ang role Niya sa buhay mo. Makikita mo lang ang mukha Niya kapag nakita mo na Siya sa buhay mo (The real image of Jesus Christ depends on what His role is in your life. You’ll see His face when you know who He is in your life).”
See more of “Hesukristo: Filipino Artists’ Interpretation of Jesus Christ” at Art Show Philippines Facebook page.