Sarasota, FL, where I live, has the audacity to name its redline district Newtown. If you are poor and/or black in wealthy Sarasota, you probably live in Newtown. Bishop Stanford Jerome Perkins and his wife Pastor Theresa Perkins have lived in Newtown their entire lives. Their titles are self-appointed. Their church, Trinity Multicultural Life Church, has maybe a dozen core members. He and his wife have enjoyed an uninterrupted flow of otherwise unwanted children through their home for over thirty years. Their school, Esther's School, admits troubled kids who have been expelled from public school. They don't bother with the child protection system. They don't get financial assistance. The children grow up and move on; some remembering and some not. Money is always an issue. The Bishop would like to be rich; the Pastor and I tell him that he is. In Africa a man's worth is measured by the number of children he is a father to; biological or not. By that standard the bishop is a very wealthy man indeed.
So when an opportunity came up to paint a portrait of the Bishop and the Pastor, I arranged to come by the school and take pictures of the students. I had this idea to paint him as Maasa Musa, the richest man who ever lived, surrounded by his wealth. They loved the result. A giclee hangs in a prominent place at the school.
I create a lot of art. I always have. The art I keep; the art I share; addresses one or more of the following: awareness, conversation, relationship, community, healing. The Bishop of Newtown touches on all five. I want to share it with as many as I can.
Somewhere in the process of creating The Bishop of Newtown I ran across a statement by St. Thomas Aquinas: "Prius vita quam doctrina"--"Life is more important than doctrine"; which I put in the painting engraved into the top arch of his chair. Many have discounted the Bishop and the Pastor because they don't have credentials; their titles are self-appointed. But once he has prayed over you, as he does for me every Sunday morning, you realize a kind of affirmation that only the Holy Spirit can convey. The man and his wife are in the thick of the battle every day; keeping the enemy at bay in an otherwise dark place. And they know how to put on the full armor of the Lord--they have to.
Me, Marty Dunn, artist
The original oil painting, mounted on aluminum composite panel (ACP) and nicely framed, is available for purchase through my website for $2950. Giclees, also mounted on ACP are available in a variety of sizes for $300-400.
Other original oils, giclees, and note cards are available through my website.
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