Tavares Strachan Reimagines ‘The Last Supper’ in a Monumental Tribute to Black Historical Figures — Colossal

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#art history
#bronze
#gold
#identity
#sculpture
#Tavares Strachan

February 9, 2024

Kate Mothes

Detail of “The First Supper (Galaxy Black)”(2023), bronze with black patina and gold leaf. 217.3 x 928.5 x 266.7 centimeters. Installation view of ‘Entangled Pasts, 1768-now. Art, Colonialism and Change’At the Royal Academy of Arts. All photos by Jonty wilde, courtesy the artist Perrotin and Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Shared with permission

From a seven-year orbit of the Earth in honor of Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., America’s first Black astronaut, Pulsing neon human skeleton that illuminates Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to the field of science, Tavares StrachanReframe historical narratives using technology and experimental processes.

This month, London will be the place to be. Royal Academy of ArtsOpen the door to your own world Entangled Pasts, 1768-now. Art, Colonialism, and Change A large-scale survey of the works of British art history giants such as J.M.W. Turner, Joshua Reynolds and John Singleton Copley are in dialogue with contemporary artists like Hew Locke, Yinka Yinibare, Lubaina Himid, Sonia Boyce. And in the courtyard, an impressive life-size reimagining of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic tempera mural, “The Last Supper,” replaces the Renaissance painting’s subjects with Black scientists, activists, artists, and other prominent figures.

The following are some of the ways to get in touch with us “The First Supper,”Strachan spent four years completing the work, which includes notable figures like Harriet Tubman (abolitionist), Marcus Garvey (activist) and Marsha Johnson (activist), Mary Seacole as a nurse, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe as a singer and songwriter. Strachan substitutes the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie for Jesus, and himself as Judas.

Art historian Alayo Akinkugbe suggests in an essay for the exhibition’s catalogue that positioning himself as traitor represents the artist’s betrayal of “history’s status quo by bringing to light these marginalized figures in a composition that is typically associated with Christ and his disciples.” Strachan also continues a long tradition of surreptitiously including a self-portrait within a broader subject, perhaps most famously in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 “Arnolfini Portrait” or Raphael’s famous Vatican fresco, “The School of Athens,”Between 1509 and 1511, the construction of the new building was completed.

 

Installation view “The First Supper (Galaxy Black)”The Royal Academy of Arts in London

The following are some of the ways to get in touch with us “The First Supper”The act of eating together, from small dinners up to large gatherings builds and maintains relationships.

Strachan describes the gathering of people around a table as being “part of the fabric of human experience,”Every detail of food and drinks in this work has a symbolic meaning. You’ll find African rice, catfish, breadfruit, cocoa, chicken, custard apple, and soursop—all foods consumed in the Caribbean that can be traced to Indigenous and African influences, paralleling the troubling histories of enslavement and indentured servitude.

The use of bronze with black and gold patinas also pays homage to African visual culture and the highly skilled craftsmanship of artisans that invented the lost-wax cast method as early as the 10th Century. Some of the world’s most famous bronze sculptures were created in the Kingdom of BeninNow Nigeria.

Gold bears a similar symbolic weight, referencing Europeans’ attraction to West Africa’s ‘Gold Coast’Strachan notes that the material is from the 15th century. Strachan notes Strachan that the material is “one of Africa’s most abundant natural resources and has indisputably shaped its history and its people throughout time.”

Entangled Pasts Continues through April 28. Find more on Strachan’s Website.

 

Detail of “The First Supper (Galaxy Black)”

Detail of “The First Supper (Galaxy Black)”

#art history
#bronze
#gold
#identity
#sculpture
#Tavares Strachan

 

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