by Andrew White
Next time you visit us at St Beuno’s you will discover a new artistic addition to the house. Outside the retreatants’ dining room a print is now on display of an important contemporary painting, the original of which hangs in the Jesuit church at Farm Street in London. Artist Andrew White talks about his painting:
The original work, In Memoriam, is an epic twelve-foot-long canvas depicting The Last Supper on long-term long from the church’s artist-in-residence, Andrew White. The painting was brought to Farm Street from the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The central panel could easily be interpreted as the supper at Emmaus, but the bowl in front of the disciples reflecting the bread and the hands recalls Matthew 26:23: ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.’
Andrew White gave a presentation in the church earlier this year on 19th February and beforehand talked about the inspiration and events running up to the creation of his Last Supper:
‘The idea came through my wife – we were in a situation where the business was struggling and it was a difficult time to know which direction to go. We thought that in order to try and help the business we needed a figurative idea. My wife suggested the Last Supper which surprised me because up until that point I had mainly been involved with commercial galleries. I have always been shy of getting into the Christian art arena.’
Andrew was sceptical at first so he started off with a painting of only three-foot-long but as he started he felt that there was more to the idea. Talking about his experience of growth along the journey, he said: ‘As the weeks went by, I felt that I should invest more and more time into the work. And as the painting grew in size and as my commitment in time was invested in that project, I realised that God was doing something and that I needed to pay attention to a journey that was opening up.’
Andrew’s work can also be viewed as an aid to imaginative contemplation: ‘I am fascinated by still moments and love still life. I felt that I needed to capture a moment that could exist in real time so that, as a viewer, we could almost put ourselves into the painting and become part of that frozen moment.’
Andrew’s depiction of The Last Supper has already touched many people and won him many admirers and we hope that it will be an inspirational aid to prayer, and an invitation to pause and be still, for all those who come to St Beuno’s.
If you want to learn more about the painting and the creative process involved you can visit the Ignatian Insight blog.