Fine Art Photography

Women’s Last Supper Project

Seeking the Feminine within the Divine

The Women’s Last Supper Project was developed seeking to understand and connect with God’s and, by extension, Jesus’ feminine nature.  In April of 2013 I recruited 13 women from St. Mark’s parish in Berkeley and Newman Hall to join me in re-creating Leonardo’s Last Supper.  Our intention was to help our participants put themselves into the narrative, experiencing and reflecting the emotional confusion and spiritual distress felt by Jesus and his disciples.  In short, this project’s intent was to make this narrative emotionally and spiritually available within a feminine context.  We followed the original narrative: Jesus, surrounded by his loving disciples, has announced that one at the table will betray him.  A wave of shock and surprise ripples around the table.  Reading the emotional outburst we see fear, shock, grief, anger, and sadness, but mostly confusion on their faces.

Designed as a Lenten spiritual exercise, I asked our volunteers to review texts on the pertinent Gospel passages, readings on Leonardo’s painting, and invited the Rev. Corrie Lassen to explain how Icons are “written”.  Over the course of the next three weeks I asked all to prayerfully consider how each disciple was responding to hearing the words that one of them would betray their beloved teacher.

Following our first session, we met over two Sunday’s, setting up a long table in front of the altar at St. Marks. Armed with photo-copies of Leonardo’s painting for reference, the participants lined up at the table and reflected on the emotional response for the character they would be representing.  Once two photographs of that scene were taken, I asked each person to move one seat to their right, take on the new role and so we continued.  The pace quickened to where our participants were not given time to think of whom they were portraying.  They found they had  to be that character without consideration, bringing forth their emotional interpretation for that disciple, or Jesus.  In this manner we continued till all had played each role, from teacher to betrayer and all in-between.

We later met to review the prints and discuss the experience.   True to the larger meaning of this image, this effort resulted in the creation of a greater community.   The participants came from a variety of smaller groups at St. Marks, supplemented by women joining from the Newman Society.  Normally, these groups would not generally mix.  However, in the making of these images, they found new connections and a stronger sense of themselves when engaging in prayer and spiritual practice.

WLSP#10

WLSP #10

WLSP#12

WLSP #12

WLSP#16

WLSP #16

WLSP #18

WLSP #18

WLSP#20

WLSP #20

WLSP#22

WLSP #22

WLSP#24

WLSP #24

WLSP#25

WLSP #25

WLSP#27

WLSP #27

WLSP#30

WLSP #30

WLSP#32

WLSP #32

WLSP#33

WLSP #33

WLSP#36

WLSP #36

 

 

 

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