On Monday, St Paul’s Church in Malmö Sweden unveiled its new altarpiece. The painting is by lesbian Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and entitled Paradise. It portrays the Garden of Eden. However, rather than Adam and Eve, it shows a male and a female couple with a transgender person playing the role of the snake. We like to think of the couples as Adam & Steve and Madam & Eve.
My News Desk reports that Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin painted Paradise in 2012.
Then, she offered the painting as a gift to the Skara Cathedral. Elisabeth grew up in Skara, not far from the cathedral. It was about to host the first same-sex wedding in its 1,000-year history. Despite that, the cathedral rejected her donation as not about faith but political activism.
St Pauls in Malmö thought differently, however.
“It is with pride and joy that we receive Paradise in St. Paul’s Church. We need images that open up for greater inclusion and identification in the church.
“We are grateful for Elisabeth’s artistry, which enables us to build a credible church that shows that we all, regardless of who we love and identify as, fit into Paradise.”
Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin is a photographer and painter. She often uses queer models in her work. She also often incorporates religious imagery.
St Paul’s Church described Paradise as placing gays in God’s creation from the beginning.
“Not in hell where homosexuals were previously missed in history.
“The painting is based on the reformation artist Lucas Cranach the Elder’s (1472-1553) painting Adam and Eve.
“Elisabeth saw this painting at Östergötland County Museum and was touched by it.”
Check out more of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin’s amazing art at her website.
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