“Table of Hope”
Lenten thoughts from a painting
I have seen the copy of this painting twice, once at Bishop House, diocese of Mumbai then again here in the office of Abouna Dawood. Today thought of sharing the inspiring story behind this powerful painting. Must read……..
This painting was made by a Filipino artist Joey Velasco, like many of his painting this one was also inspired by what he saw in the streets of Manila. In his search for inspiration, Joey found 12 children in poor districts of Manila . After treating them with meals, Joey took their pictures and retreated to his studio to start working on the painting. He describes that
“It was they who touched my soul. Through them, God spoke to me and moved me to paint their stories and tell others about their lives.”
The result was a thought provoking painting of the Last Supper, with Christ breaking bread with street children. The name of this painting is Hapag ng Pag-asa (Table of Hope). Below is the brief explanation of this painting,
+The young girl standing at the extreme left, is 10-year-old Nene. Joey met her at the Manila North Cemetery, where she and her family lived among the graves.
+Onse, 9 year old, sits at the table, his plate cleaned to the last crumb, he listens to Jesus to feed his other hungers.
+The child, who scavenges with a push cart, has a father addicted to drugs and a mother who works as a strip dancer.
+Itok, another scavenger who at 11 is the family breadwinner, sits at the right hand of Jesus. This child spent time in jail after being caught in a number of robberies.
+Velasco placed a small boy under the table eating the fallen scraps with the cats. The artist explained, “The skinny child is not one of the hungry kids who roam our busy streets at night. He is “an imaginary symbolic figure” who in the past “had satisfied himself with unnecessary food, (but) now finds himself under the table seeking spiritual crumbs.”
+ The children featured in the painting are no longer in the areas where Velasco originally found them. Through the help of an organization to shelter homeless, these 12 children and their family have new home in Quezon city.
Reminds me the words of Jesus “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
In this painting every single face around Jesus and their story gives a clear strong message. Children are fragile, like street kids most of them are abandoned and neglected by the society. Like Joey Velasco we must also see the agony of the kids around us , to think about how they will be motivated, go on with their life, and be in the right path .