The Last Supper? – Reclaiming Food Systems: Physically, Spiritually & Visually

This photo project has an amazing story!

“The Last Supper?” is a visual commentary on reclaiming our food sovereignty and ecological cosmology in a pre-post-fossil fuels era. The photo features the Linnaea Farm Stewards and the Garden Program Students from 2008 (Cortes Island, B.C.).

I had an hour and a half to pull off “The Last Supper?” The Linnaea garden program was in its sixth month and I knew that if I didn’t act soon, I would miss my chance to do an art project with the garden students and farm stewards. We all agreed on a date and time. I asked everyone to wear white knowing that probably only half would. Perfect. We had fourteen instead of thirteen bodies because baby Melina joined us. Zuzannah was amazing as Jesus. She was the only one who prepped for the shoot gleaning inspiration on-line; that she looks pregnant with the planet was one of those beautiful Momma Gaia coincidences. I have about 20 amazing shots where everyone is in a different pose. The only instruction I gave was to please not look directly at the camera.

The intention was to reclaim the Last Supper biblical motif as a cosmological alternative to our contemporary North American pro-consumerism worldview- with a humble offering of community, natural food systems and our precious, beautiful Earth.

Much of the inspiration came from one of the best films I have seen: Khadak the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival. Focused on Mongolia, the film features a Last Supper scene that is hauntingly beautiful, and which represents to me, a counter-cultural statement to the dominant Euro-centric and colonial worldview that enforces violence, alienation and displacement. The movie tells the fictional story of a young man forceably removed from his animals and nomadic, ancestral way of life to a mining town; contextualized within the true story of a people forced to destroy the very landscape that physically and spiritually sustained generations of Mongolians. The protagonist undergoes a painful journey away from his animals into a love story that ends tragically in a mental asylum. The movie shows the mental illness that developed amongst people cut off from their animals and land- cultural and spiritual genocide for an animist-centred people.

What’s on and around the table?

Ms. Chicken and baby Melina were incredibly patient. Cayenne the horse was a last addition, galloped from one end of the farm to the other. There were three (approximately four hundred pound) baby cows that had tried to take the table out and we had to keep an eye on their location. The sun magically came out from behind the clouds and hid again moments after we wrapped. Folks collectively decorated the table with farm fresh zucchini’s, tomatoes, wheat husks, eggs and milk. The lego tower, old typewriter, 1970’s TV, colonial globe and empty oil barrels juxtapose modernity with the surrounding ecological and local, organic food perspective- a much older way of being in the world (eating and growing local) that has existed for centuries pre-industrialization. Half of the people at the table are looking off in the direction of the sun, as if waiting, looking and contemplating the future. I ask the viewer to contemplate their relationship to food and worldview.

To hear the 2008 Linnaea Garden Students, check out Deconstructing Dinner: