by Kelcey Nichols
Art from the New Testament can be seen everywhere we look. Most of the art we see is traditional and shows only people mentioned in the bible, but some of the art requires deeper interpretation. In Joey Valesco’s “Hapag ng Pag-asa,” better known as Table of Hope the painting of the last supper is taken to a deeper level. The portrait portrays several hungry children of the streets eating with Jesus. “Hapag ng Pag-asa” appeared at the National Eucharistic convention in 2005. The author, Joey Valesco, was born March 18, 1967 to Ciriaco and Adelita Valesco. He took up painting pictures of Jesus in real life issues after undergoing a severe rough patch in his life. This painting is one of his most known images because of the relation to real life it serves.
One of the first things I noticed about the painting was Jesus. It is not uncommon for paintings involving Jesus to draw our eye directly to him first. It seems as though he brings light among the darkness. The next thing I notice is the boy sitting on the table with a purse in his hand on the left side of the table. It is said by some that the boy had stole the purse and takes the place of Judas with the money he was paid when he betrayed Jesus. The thing that strikes me the most in this is the little boy on the floor eating scraps that have fallen. These were portraits of real people that Valesco had encountered in his life. He found these children in Manila, photographed them, and then painted them into his painting.
What does this painting represent? To me this painting represents the type of people Jesus would have helped and spoken to in the bible. In the bible, Jesus talks the poor and Impoverished and teaches them and gives them food. If Jesus were here today, these are the type of kids he would be working with. Another message the painting sends is Jesus would want us to give to these children in need. In the painting everything is dark and the gloomy and the children do not look happy. There was a follow up to this painting called “Hapag ng Pagibig” meaning, the table of love. In that painting it shows the children with Jesus again but in their own setting and happy. Hapag ng Pag-asa also brings another message to us. The artist hung this painting up above his dining room table to remind his children to be thankful for what they have. For his children once had to go without much and this painting helped them to imagine what it would be like if they were in these children’s position. I think this painting reinforces the idea of giving to the poor. This picture helps to remind us that there are children out there in need and they need our help to live a better life. The fact that these are real children who are homeless allows the painting to strike home even more so.
This piece of art helps to portray several themes found in the bible, most dealing with poverty. It reminds us to be grateful and that Jesus was a man of the poor and sickly. Without artists like Valesco to remind us how the bible fits in to everyday life some of the messages of Jesus would be lost forever.