*** DEBUG END ***

An antidote to lily-white Bible characters

24 June 2014


"Colourful splendour": a model poses as Nebuchadnezzar for a collection of images that Mr Lewis hopes will bring about a "ground-breaking realisation of the truth"

"Colourful splendour": a model poses as Nebuchadnezzar for a collection of images that Mr Lewis hopes will bring about a "ground-breaki...

GROWING UP in the church in North America, James C. Lewis was "confused" by the illustrations that accompanied Bible stories.

"I thought the Bible only consisted of white patriarchs," he explains. "Once I reached my teens, I started to study and discovered that this was a complete fabrication of the truth."

Now a professional photographer, Mr Lewis is seeking to change the story for those who "have yet to see themselves depicted in the pages of biblical history".

His Icons of the Bible series features models from a wide variety of backgrounds - "Native Americans, Indians, Polynesians, Asians, Latinos, West Indians and American Blacks". Each depicts a character from both the Old or New Testaments. From an Angel Gabriel with magnificent dreadlocks, to a veiled Rebecca, the pictures are a riposte to what he regards as a long-standing "white-washing" of the Bible

"The first depiction of Jesus and the saints was commissioned by the de'Medici family of Florence, Italy, and they used members of their family to capture the images of Jesus and the Holy Mother Mary," he explains. "The disciples were Italian convicts who posed for Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper. With that being said you now see how this unrealistic, non-factual depiction has made its way through the centuries of publications, statues, paintings and every other form of artistic representation. As the saying goes: 'The story is always told according the person writing it.'"

He hopes that the story told by Icons will bring about a "ground-breaking realisation of the truth", including illustrations in Bibles.

"All publications should include a more accurate depiction of what is clearly written in the scriptures," he says. "Common reason will lead most of us to the conclusion that there is no way these people could have originated in Africa and the Middle East and be blonde-haried, blue-eyed individuals with lily-white skin. At best they would have been a people whose complexions ranged from olive to the deepest mahogany. I intend to show the world all the great icons of the Bible in all their rich, colourful splendour! It's not just a white man's story. It's something that includes each and every one of us on this planet."

Icons Of The Bible  will be on display from November to February 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.             




Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

8 September 2022
Church Times Cricket Cup: North v. South
Join us to watch the match at the Walker Cricket Ground, in Southgate, north London.

26 September 2022
What am I living for? God
Sam Wells and Lucy Winkett begin the St Martin-in-the-Fields autumn lecture series in partnership with Church Times.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)