i was delighted to see mark wallinger's ecce homo statue is back on display in london. i loved it when it was on the fourth plinth in trafalgar square. it showed christ as a human size figure, looking like one of us and in the context of all the other pompous statues made a big statement.
it's now reappeared at the top of the steps of st paul's cathedral - christ with eyes closed, life size, in front of the crowd at a time of trial with a crown of thorns made of barbed wire. you can go and stand next to him and have a selfie if you want (kind of weird thing to do?!). but again this is christ downsized from the pomposity of st pauls cathedral. it's sponsored by amnesty international. christ was beaten, tortured and executed as someone who spoke truth to power - in his case religious power. there are many many people tortured, imprisoned, and killed in the world today so i hope this statue serves to draw attention to those people.
when i took a photo of the statue on my phone i got chatting to a woman taking a photo. her opening question to me was 'who is this?' . i assumed she meant the artist but suddenly realised that she had no idea that the statue was a representation of jesus christ and indeed she had no idea who jesus was and is. she was american. so i tried to tell the story briefly. but i found it a wake up call that she is probably one of many who simply don't know the story of jesus christ. there are four stories of his life told by matthew, mark, luke and john. today, good friday, is the day when his death is remembered. why not read one of those stories of his life? we went on to discuss photography as it turned out she had just bought an expensive camera but had no idea how to use it so i gave an impromptu camera lesson...
if you are passing st paul's cathedral go and take a look - the statue is there until the end of may i think. i don't know how long it will be before they are forced to protect the statue but currently you can go right next to the statue.