This image symbolizes the relationship between Feminism and the Christian church in the modern era. Even in this 21st century, the governing patriarchy of most Orthodox Christian churches forbid the rights of women to occupy positions of ecclesiastical power such as the office of priesthood. The Catholic church remains firm in it's all-male position. The Anglican church has made efforts to change, but not without a substantial resistance from conservative ranks. In this artwork, by presenting a woman as the crucified Christ, I intend to highlight the two thousand year old tradition of sexual persecution of the female sex by an all-male church hierarchy. The Priest's white collar around the neck symbolises the office of priesthood. Today the church stands as the only institution in the 21st century permitted to openly practice a politics of unequal opportunity.
Retired progressive Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong writes: "For most of the two thousand years of history..., the Christian church has participated in and supported the oppression of women. This oppression has been both overt and covert, conscious and unconscious.... Patriarchy and God have been so deeply and uncritically linked to gender by the all-male church hierarchy that men have little understood how this alliance has been used to the detriment of all women...."
The artwork references the lesser known "Mary" in the biblical narrative, i.e., Mary Magdalene. Wikipedia describes her as follows: "Mary Magdalene is described, both in the canonical New Testament and in the New Testament apocrypha, as a devoted disciple of Jesus... She is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles." (Wikipedia).
Model: Melissa Atkinson
Photography: Graeme Wienand
Spong, John Shelby 1992, Born of a woman, Harper Collins, New York.
Wikipedia, Mary Magdalene, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene