Oil on canvas, 177cm x 139cm (2014)
O Yemi : "I was horrified to see pictures, on the TV screen and online, of mutilated bodies of Christians killed because of their faith. It is even more sickening to see pictures of Christians literally nailed to crosses. Islamic State terrorists executed and crucified Christians in Iraq and Syria. I have seen Churches being blowing up in Egypt, Kenya and Northern Nigeria. Christians have been the victims in Pakistan of abuse of blasphemy laws. Pastors and Church leaders are the target for kidnapping by South American guerrilla fighters. Church leaders, jailed in Iran and China for their faith, make me see Christians like roses growing in the midst of the thorns. That is why this painting is titled ‘The Bleeding Roses’.
Unlike many renaissance paintings of the Crucifixion, I chose to paint the body of Christ (the Church) as roses. I painted Roses in rainbow colours as the persecution of Christians cuts across all races. St Paul’s Cathedral, among the buildings in the background, is the most noticeably Christian building in London - the city where the painting was made. Pope Francis was included in the painting as the head of a persecuted church. In the foreground left side of the painting is an African King, representing part of Africa where Christians are being persecuted. On the right side are an Indonesian woman and a Syrian woman, praying for freedom of worship for Christians in their countries."