Homeless Men In Glasgow "Last Supper"
15 December 2015, 06:00
An artist has created a modern take on the Last Supper - replacing saints and apostles with homeless men from Glasgow.
Iain Campbell used the project to highlight the plight of the homeless at Christmas by depicting an evening at Glasgow City Mission.
The painting shows 13 men sitting around a table eating, drinking and talking, loosely based on Leonardo da Vinci's famous Last Supper.
The 40-year-old artist considered featuring politicians and famous faces in the painting when the idea first emerged, but decided to instead portray people on the margins of society.
Mr Campbell, who is artist in residence for the Church of Scotland at Glasgow's St George's-Tron Church, said: "People keep asking me which one is Jesus and when we were setting up the composition of the 13 guys I deliberately didn't compose it to imagine 'this one's Jesus, this one's Judas', and so on.
"One thing that was in the back of my mind is something that Jesus said in the Gospels: 'Whatever you do for the least of these you do for me,' so with that idea in mind any one of them could represent Jesus.''
Two men who feature in the painting visited the Tron church in Buchanan Street this week to see it for the first time.
Arthur Curtis, who now lives in housing association accommodation in Govan, visits the Mission twice a week.
The 55-year-old said: "I knew he had been doing it because one or two of the lads had seen bits of it getting done, but I'm amazed at the size of it. It's absolutely stunning, incredible.
"It's highlighting the City Mission - the work it does and the relationships that the guys who use it build up. The new Last Supper, I like that.''
John Wallace, 26, is also depicted in the painting, he said: "I've been involved with the Mission for about seven or eight years. I had a lot of problems in my life at the time and one night I went down to the Mission and got to meet some friends.
"It's not just a food bank, we've got our own clubs and outings and most of the volunteers that work in it have come from similar backgrounds, so you always know you're not on your own when you're struggling to cope.
"The painting shows a normal night in the Mission and hopefully it shows to folk living on the streets or on tough times that there is always a place and it's open to everyone.
"I could see myself in it straight away because there's so much detail in it.''
Glasgow City Mission was the first charity of its kind set up in 1826 by David Nasmith, who was shocked at the level of poverty in the city.
It now works with adults and children in vulnerable situations that can involve homelessness, addiction, prostitution, family breakdown and emotional issues.
Around 250 people use the charity's centres around the city each day.
Fundraising manager Graham Steven said: "A lot of the people that come to us feel vulnerable and isolated from society and to have their faces captured permanently in this painting is fantastic.
It's a fabulous painting and really captures the characters that we see day in and day out at Glasgow City Mission.
"The original Last Supper of course features Jesus and a lot of his ministry was working with the poor and those on the margins of society, so in that sense it's a great link and captures modern day society where we still have lots of people on the margins of our cities.''