Disturbing art

When I read a recent report about Krish Kandiah’s Biblefresh visit to Burkina Faso, there was one thing which struck me more than anything else. In this desperately poor country, the President of the African Evangelical Alliance nonetheless said that the people in his churches would ‘rather have a Bible than shoes’. In a land of Biblical plenty, that really got me thinking, and so the small art project below was born.

An old Bible, donated for charity, has now been cut up and has transformed the old shoe above. The finished product, pictured below, stands as an uncomfortable reminder of our Biblical plenty and the Biblical famine elsewhere around the world. Never having done this before, a number of things strike me.

  • To dismantle a Bible like this, even one discarded, which once belonged to an old saint, felt so wrong. However, the fact that others have no Bible when we have them to throw out is worse still.
  • The Bible’s title now sits like a fashion label on the outside of the shoe.
  • Inside, where the maker’s label should be, is a map of of Burkina Faso
  • Despite washing them, my fingers still feel sticky as I type on the keyboard now – as if sullied by this act.
  • The shoe – once so battered, now seems to have a new lease of life
  • The Bible, falling apart – now has a new lease of life too.
  • There is only one shoe, or half a pair – the work of addressing global Biblical inequity is not yet done.
  • What are your reflections?