How do you get 13 youngsters of different nationalities and cultures, most of whom not greatly interested in any religious topics, to create a joint artwork about Jesus Christ’s final days on earth, from The Last Supper to his Crucifixion and Resurrection?
Photographer and photography teacher João Ribeiro was able to do so with his third-year students from the professional photography course at Portimão’s Escola Profissional Gil Eanes in 2019.
In just three months, the aspiring photographers were able to reconstruct the death of Jesus Christ from The Last Supper to his Resurrection in 16 fine art, black and white photographs (100cm x 70cm).
The cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was represented in modern times by work. They made an analogy between Jesus’ journey and modern-day life, in an attempt to depict a metaphorical and updated vision of Christianity, based on family and social experiences. However, they were able to understand and convey not only the sacrifice but also the hope that can be found in work.
“At first, we were confused because religious themes are not part of our daily life,” Ukrainian student Anna Kovdiei told the Resident.
“However, our teacher told us that we did not have to follow the church’s usual themes, and this was when different and interesting ideas came to us. In the end, many pictures ended up depicting daily life and work.
“Our initial plan was to have each student work on his/her own photo, but later decided to all work together and were even helped by students and teachers from other classes. This was truly a team effort,” said Kovdiei.
As society becomes more and more individualistic, these youngsters also learned that working together is always a better option.
“As much as we work on our own, we will always need other people. Our goal was to represent work and daily life. If we hadn’t worked together, we wouldn’t have come up with such a creative work of art or included such small details that were planned very carefully and enhanced the end result,” said Portuguese student Jéssica Carneiro, known artistically as Caroliinaii.
The photos are unique and include a serial number, which makes them veritable works of art. They were successfully on show for six months last year at the São Paulo church in Tavira.
On Saturday, March 7 at 7pm, they will be displayed in the main hall of the Portimão parish council (Junta de Freguesia), which is sponsoring the exhibition alongside the Portimão Parish and the Tavira Parish, which owns the work. The exhibition, entitled “Via Crucis”, can be visited on weekdays from 9am to 4pm until April 17.
A pamphlet featuring the 16 photos and their interpretations will be handed out during the opening show.
As a closing note, here we reproduce the caption that accompanies the final photo, entitled “Resurrection”:
“It is hard to realise that happiness is nearby, and that we do not have to sacrifice so much to achieve it. Work is not everything; it shouldn’t enslave or cause rifts. We should find what we like to do, learn to manage our time around what is most important and not merely our mundane ambitions, so that we can build towards something much more important: happiness.”
By José Garrancho