The Romero Chapel at Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh

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My painting in the Romero Chapel at Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh.

The reliquary contains Rutilio Grande’s diary and a tiny piece of Oscar Romero’s bloodstained clothing.

 

‘Saints of El Salvador’ (2019)

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Commissioned by the Archbishop Romero Trust for the new Romero Chapel at Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh.

Rutilio Grande SJ (grey jacket) and Óscar Romero (cassock) were gunned down by security forces in 1977 and 1980 respectively for speaking out against the repression of the Salvadoran poor. The painting is based on a photograph by Brother Octavio Duran.

Acrylic on linen, 100 x 100 cm

‘Pope Francis, mobile phones’ (2017)

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Based on a press photograph by Alessandro Bianchi

Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches

I haven’t signed this off as I’m not quite sure if it’s finished.  The problem has been the background.  At one point I had a Buenos Aires rubbish dump behind the Pope with cartoneros (litter-pickers) busy at work, and the horizon at the back was an arc, the curvature of the earth. What I wanted was the rich, the poor, the Pope, and (referencing his encyclical Laudate si) an exploited planet, all squashed into the one canvas. Waking up one morning I realised I was overloading the picture and painted it all out. The hidden Gospel verse (Lk 6:20) is a relic from that earlier painting.

‘Rutilio Grande and Óscar Romero’ (2018)

The Great Amen PB and photo CR

My painting of two 20th century martyrs from El Salvador – Rutilio Grande S.J. and Archbishop Óscar Romero – commissioned by the Archbishop Romero Trust for permanent display in St Ignatius Church, Stamford Hill.

Archbishop Romero was canonised on 14 October 2018. I understand Father Grande’s beatification is imminent.

Acrylic on linen. 48 x 36 inches. 122 x 92 cm.