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Modern-day Christ

caines | 4/18/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Local painter conveys messages If Christ lived today, how would he look? And how would he behave? Local artist Marvin Weeks painted his answers to these questions in his present-day Christ mural, which he crafted the day before Easter on one side of the New Resurrection Community Churchs wall. The mural displays a young Black man with cornrow braids, wearing all-white including a hoodie, who is coming out of a door. According to Weeks, the mural is showing Christs resurrection. The Bible verse 1 John 4:4 is also painted on the wall, which states greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Black youth, but Black males in particular, dont see themselves as a part of history or a part of change and development, Weeks said. I wanted to do something to reflect that you can see Christ and God in you. If you see yourself today in Christs spirit, then why would you go out and harm your brother, he said. Weeks spoke of the Black mans struggle, the violence in the community and the need for older men to speak to the youth and remove the generational divide. He believes that because of the struggles that young Black males face, they are being crucified and need to be resurrected. Until we eradicate the issues of the young Black male, weve got a problem, Weeks said. So we have to take him off that so-called cross and give him life again. As an artist, my work is sort of like a ministry in a way, and I want to try to convey a message, Weeks said. Art is a vision and a direction, so Ive used art since Ive been [in Miami] to try to give direction and bring a better vision to our community. Weeks, who is a member of New Beginning Embassy, said God gave him the vision of using spiritual murals and other forms of art to create dialogue, to encourage spiritual foundation and to transform the community into a better place where more people can communicate and know their worth. He said the mural is about letting people know that we have everything we need in order to do what we need to do. The scripture says without vision people perish, he said. If enough of us get a different vision then we can start making changes in our community and our lives. According to Weeks, art is important because we have to tell ourselves who we are through the art. He said we should allow others to tell us that. Weeks explained that art is also a main component of economic development in Miami-Dade County. Weeks plans on starting an art school for the youth sometime this year. He said he welcomes churches, businesses and institutions who gives him a temporary space for creating a mural. He also welcomes other artists to collaborate with him. Rev. Anthony Tate, pastor of New Resurrection Community Church, helped Weeks select the appropriate Bible verse for the mural. Tate said he was a small vessel used in the vision by allowing Weeks to use his church wall to send positive messages. He says he has only received positive responses about the wall. The youth of his church took pictures by it and community members said it was inspiring. Tate said the wall is about us. Christ opened the door so we can be what we want to be. . . , he said. We dont have to be drug dealers, alcoholics or crack addicts. We can be doctors, we can be teachers, we can be nurses. No matter what society has said, you can be whatever you want to be because God is in you. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com