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.