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Kenyan Artists Contextualize Stations of the Cross

by Heather Carr |

Africa, Contextualization in Missions, Kenya

kenyan jesus and maryArtists have long put paint to canvas, or chisel to stone, in an effort to help us comprehend the sacrifice Christ made for us. Many Christians put these masterpieces to use in a practice known as the Stations of the Cross. Artistic impressions of the hours leading to Jesus’ death and burial are displayed to assist followers in reflecting on the scriptures. In Kenya, one church has used this practice to reach the local Christian community at its heart.

A trained team of young Kenyan artists was asked to paint a set of stations that would reflect the life and environment of the people of Turkana, Kenya. Authentic Turkana people, dress and localities are pictured in the familiar scenes of the Passion. Roman soldiers are replaced by Kenyan warriors. Pilate is shown in the traditional dress of a Turkana chief, and the cross fashioned from a local tree. The backdrop of many of the stations is comprised of local scenery, including the shops and houses of its residents.

The Turkana people now share an intimate connection with Jesus’ presence among us. Through the work of these Kenyan artists, personal relationships with Christ are strengthened through an intimate understanding of the suffering of our savior. Remembering that Jesus knows the pain of human suffering offers hope to a people who regularly face the burdens of disease and hunger. To view all of the Stations of the Cross in Lodwar Cathederal, Kenya, check out the Africa: St. Patrick’s Missions magazine article Through Nomadic Eyes.

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