Pop Art and Black Pope Paintings
Black warrior and Roman soldier martyred for Christianity in the 3rd century, St. Maurice (coutesy: Image of the Black in Western Art Archive at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research)
Social Realist painter Charles White's 1973 Black Pope painting (Sandwich Board Man) was a recent feature of MoMa PS1's Fantastic and Revelatory Story of Art and Black LA.
Ealy Mays' has painted the Black Pope since the late 1980s. Living in the shadows and history of Notre Dame in Paris' 5th district, he expanded the images in 2008 as a suggested European response to the election of Barack Obama as the first black President.
Black warriors and soldiers were integral to the Roman Empire. Saint Victor was born in Africa and bore a Latin name as most Africans did at that time. Saint Victor was the fifteenth pope and a native of black Africa. Saint Gelasius was born in Rome of African parents and was a member of the Roman clergy from youth. Saint Miltiades was one of the Church’s black Popes, occupying the papacy from 311 to 314 A.D. serving four years, seven months and eight days.
Recurring theme of Ealy Mays' black Pope series is the likelihood of other than European or American influences ascending to the Papacy - ranging in possibilities from a Haitian Catholic Pope, an Egyptian Coptic Pope (which regards St Mark as their first Pope and which broke ranks with the church at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ), to an African or wider Caribbean Pope with non-traditional Christian roots and possible Semitic influences of Islam, Judaism, or Rastafarianism.
Pope displays subtle symbols including the crucifixion, the pointed Star of David, the symbol of the combining of two flesh to become one flesh, and the powerful symbol of protection wisdom, health and prosperity, worn to ward off evil spirits - Eye of Horus / ‘wedjat’ ('Whole One') (lost by Horus when he fought with Seth over the murder of his father, Osiris).
Paris based contemporary artist Ealy Mays' online art gallery presents a beautiful selection of figurative art narratives, mixed media wall art, top quality canvas prints, posters.