Saturday, February 4, 2012

Russell Yee

The Last Supper


On permanent display at
New Life Christian Fellowship,
Castro Valley, California

Using items typically found on a Chinese-American restaurant turntable, I have depicted Jesus' Last Supper with his twelve disciples.  By so recreating that momentous meal, I have drawn together Jesus' transcultural offer of his life, together with the specifics of my culture, through which (in part) he makes that offer to me.

The bowls, spoons, and teacups are plain white china, from China.  They are matched and touching, expressing Jesus' solidarity with his disciples.  Their chopsticks are likewise touching, with Jesus' pair forming a cross, the place where he will offer up himself.

In the center are a rice serving bowl and a teapot representing the body and blood of Christ--his very life, which he gives to all who would receive it.

Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, is depicted by the isolated, overturned teacup and bowl/spoon (which he will not be using, since he will leave the table early), and by the solitary pair of chopsticks, also isolated, and bent.  His chopsticks and spoon point to the dish, in which he will dip at the moment Jesus identifies him as the traitor.

The red napkin expresses both the Chinese sense of health and vitality, and the liturgical sense of Jesus' cleansing blood.

A restaurant name appears on the menu cover in Chinese (gé lóu, "loft, garret") and English ("The Upper Room").  The location is given in Hebrew: "Jerusalem, Israel."  Inside the menu are the accounts of the Last Supper taken from the synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle to the Corinthians.

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