I photographed this painting Nuestro Senor el Desollado (Our Lord, The One Who is Flayed), 2004 by Paul Pletka at the Phoenix Art Gallery . It depicts the staging of the crucifixion of Jesus traditionally done in Mexico during Lent. Interestingly in this painting the artist has mixed Catholic images with images from ancient Mayan and Aztec religions, the religious traditions of Central America prior to the Spanish occupation.
Pletka’s painting reminds me of Parfleches for the Last Supper an artwork in the collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery where indigenous artist Robert Houle uses images from his Anishinaabe spiritual heritage to represent each of the disciples who shared Jesus’ last meal before his death with him.
Our understanding of the stories from our own faith heritage can be enriched when we open them to interpretation by those whose faith ancestry is different, and in the case of the heritage of these two artists,much older than our own.