Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Christ the All Black icon

You can see it in Taonga, our Anglican provincial quarterly; you can see it on various blogs - it excites comment and reflection. What do you think? This image of Christ the All Black is on display in Wellington’s Anglican cathedral. It is in the traditional Christian iconic style. The artist, Don Little, said he had painted the piece after wondering if rugby was the new religion in a country that had largely turned away from religious belief. “The word ‘icon’ is being flashed around everywhere nowadays, so I just thought, ‘What is a New Zealand icon?’”

After the debates over the 'Haka Peepshow' artwork, it is interesting to view something which may seem easier to relate to. After all the icon style is familiar; we are used to questioning what a picture may be about.

I find this image confuses me with the subject and the style - that melding or interpenetrating of the sacred and the secular domains (if you buy into that kind of separation). From that (calculated) confusion there unfolds a whole series of reflection and negotiations. Can we speak of Christ in rugby? to which I want to say there is no situation in which we cannot speak of Christ - but the irony here is that we have largely replaced Christ with rugby. So the 'icon' is a reminder of the Christ we have 'displaced'; and possibly still a pointer to a Christ hidden within all the pursuits that engage us - not least in rugby.

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