David Goatley
images of Faith - 2



Father Forgive Us
Oil on canvas and wood panel - 11' 6" x 4' 10"
Original - $15,000 US plus shipping
Purchase the Original
A generous percentage funds new translations and related projects.



About the Triptcyh

I first began painting overtly Christian pictures in response to an exhibition of what were, to me, obviously satanic images that was a major success here in Victoria. Large, brooding and complex figure compositions in black and white, these paintings depicted angels in bondage gear and Nazi regalia punishing naked figures in obvious torment.

The accompanying artist statement talked of the redemptive power of these images. I felt that I knew a more true source of redemptive power, and thus called upon to reply as best I could to this transparent lie. I did not want to paint historical tableau but a living present reality that would challenge an audience to become involved...I was certainly not disappointed! When I first exhibited this work, it made many people surprisingly angry.

The crucifixion was for all people at all times, so it made sense to me to set it right here, in recognizable locations with contemporary soldiers and spectators that could just be us. After all, it's our sin that puts Him there, so why should we not see ourselves at the foot of the cross? Naturally, this is not a comfortable place to be and it wasn't just those who understood my intentions that were challenged by this painting.


When I first exhibited this work in a large juried show, it made many people surprisingly angry. Some saw it as an anti-military or pacifist statement, others said religion had no place in an art exhibit-they were not there to be 'preached at,' others said the brutality of it was shocking and offensive. A campaign was mounted to have it removed.

Some time later at a second exhibition, a group of ex-soldiers threatened to vandalize my work-and me-so that a security person had to be deployed to protect the painting. The curious thing about this unexpected tide of over reaction was that in the same exhibitions there were many other religious images-Native masks, celebrations of the goddess, Wiccan, Buddhist and Tantric pictures, as well as a couple of overtly anti-Christian statements. Did these attract a similar ire of the crowds?


No! Because it seems that it is Jesus who offends, the challenge of His truth gets under the skin. I was sorry to offend soldiers and their families. It was certainly never my intention and I was amazed these paintings could be so misunderstood. I had a great deal of help from a local army unit, several of whom were Christians, in the preparation of these pictures. Indeed,one of them voluntarily stripped to his underwear in order to portray the dead Christ lifted down from the cross!

I had hoped these paintings would not be overlooked, that people would be forced to think about what they were seeing, and I was certainly not disappointed! I hope that some of those people thought later, in the quiet of their souls,"Why did those pictures trouble me? What do I think about the crucifixion? Does that have something to do with me?" Lastly, I received several beautiful letters and calls from dear Christian people who just wanted to say "Right on brother, you told it like it is." I pray they are right.

DAVID GOATLEY Victoria, British Columbia Sept. 27, 1999

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  Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.
All images are the original creation of David Goatley and are not to be copied or used for any purposes.

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