Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 20, 2021 / 12:38 pm
John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, has apologized for the school's display of an icon some say depicts George Floyd as Jesus, saying the twice-stolen image has created “needless controversy and confusion.”
“Some critics thought that the identity of the male figure was at best ambiguous. Many saw the figure in the arms of Our Lady as a divinized George Floyd. This interpretation led to accusations that the work was blasphemous, something that is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. Defenders of the work said it was meant to provoke thought about seeing Christ in the most distressed among us,” Garvey said in an email to the university on Dec. 20.
“Regardless of your interpretation, it created needless controversy and confusion, for which I am sorry,” he said.
The painting, by the St. Louis-based artist Kelly Latimore, is titled “Mama.” It was installed in February outside the chapel at the university's Columbus School of Law. In a style reminiscent of Eastern Christian iconography, the artwork portrays a Black Virgin Mary and Jesus in a Pieta-like scene. Mary’s gaze looks outward towards the viewer.