In this picture, I am using the image of John Lewis being beaten by police at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday as a parallel to the 39 lashes; the brutal flogging that Jesus endured before being sentenced to death by crucifixion. Under the bridge are those who came after John Lewis and that first march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Gold color of the bridge serves as the halo for the 139 names of people of color who have been murdered by the police between November 25, 2006 and April 15, 2021 (the date that this piece was first shown).
At the center of the canvas, marching along with the 139 name is a large Chi-Ro (Χ Ρ) that is carrying the weapons of Jesus’ torture and death. Notice the cat-o-nine-tails wrapped around the left “arm” of the Chi with its barbs being made out of silver leaf, the crown of thorns on the top of the Ro, and the three nails (real nails hammered into the wooden canvas and bent downward) on the right “arm.” The side wound is in the very center of the Chi highlighted by John’s gold and copper leaf cruciform halo encircling it. Behind the police officer who is beating Lewis is the spear used to create the side wound, still dripping with blood. Likewise, the billy club is also dripping with the blood from John Lewis’ head.
Also notice that the weapons all lay above Lewis’ halo, causing it to break even though the size of it is easily contained within the edges of the canvas. At the top of the bridge, you see “Pray for us…John”, and on either side of the bridge are the hands of God.
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