Nelson Mandela, Gordon Ramsay, and Brian O’Driscoll are staring down from a Bracknell church wall thanks to an art project.
A ‘Gallery of Good Examples’ in the parish hall of St Joseph’s Church, in Stanley Walk, was painted over three months by parish social justice co-ordinator Hugh Gibbons.
The 26 young candidates for Confirmation in 2014 at the church selected eight inspirational figures as ‘good examples’ to appear in the piece of work with Martin Luther King, actress and teen mentor Demi Lovato, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and St Josephine Bahkita also featuring along with the two priests of the Bracknell Catholic parish – Father Adrian Walker and Father Danny McEvoy.
The saints of the two parish churches – St Margaret Clitherow and St Joseph’s – and the humanitarian Archbishop Oscar Romero appear in the piece of work as well.
Each of the 13 figures are all portrayed posing for what they have achieved – for example Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela carry banners as in a rally and Gordon Ramsay is in his marathon-running gear.
The gallery is a companion to the one last year that Mr Gibbons painted for St Margaret Clitherow Primary School.
Mr Gibbons said: “The aim of these galleries is to educate, inspire, intrigue and amuse – and for many years ahead. I’d commend parishes and schools to consider one.
“They’re different from religious art bought in for churches because they’re home-grown, specific to your place and time, and give a sort of snapshot of the parish that can be updated and revisited.” The piece of work is likely to be on permanent display at the church.
The galleries are inspired by the Catholic aid agency CAFOD, campaigns for social justice and Archbishop Romero, a bishop in El Salvador, who criticised the country’s repressive government and was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980.