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St Paul's Cathedral
World News

'Strikingly vulnerable' statue of Jesus reminds London of restrictions on beliefs

Ecce Homo, which represents Christ at his trial, by the Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger is being positioned at the top of the west steps of St Paul's Cathedral during Holy Week and Eastertide.

Chancellor of St Paul's, Rev Canon Mark Oakley said: "Wallinger's work reminds us that if we are to respect humanity then we must 're-spect', that is 'take another look' to see what we are missing or choosing to ignore.

"By bringing the figure of Jesus on trial into our midst, a man undergoing trial by a braying mob, then torture and the sentence of execution, we are also provoked into asking who we have become as people and societies - and who our victims will always be.

"He urges us to have both the will and energy to imagine what it is like to have your basic freedoms taken away and to have your body and mind scarred by those more powerful than you."

The work of art, which previously appeared on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 1999, also shows Jesus wearing a crown of barbed wire.

Mark Wallinger said: "This vulnerable figure stands at the top of the steps outside the entrance to St Paul's Cathedral as we approach Easter to highlight the plight of people around the world who are imprisoned and whose lives are threatened for speaking the truth, for what they believe.

St Paul's Cathedral

The display aims to bring attention to the suffering of people in prison, undergoing torture or facing death because of the religious, political and other conscientiously-held beliefs.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty, said: "The story of Christ - arrested, tortured and executed for peacefully expressing his opinions and for challenging the authorities of the time - still resonates around the world today.

The sculpture is a strikingly vulnerable figure and is representative of the type of cases that we at Amnesty still work on today - the oppressed individual caused to suffer simply for their beliefs."

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