Able2Do Anything: Music & Arts

Artwork depicts Virgin Mary in a wheelchair

Marc Bratcher's artwork of the virgin mary holding baby jesus in her arms

A new art exhibition features a piece of work showing the Virgin Mary in a wheelchair.

“Disability and the Divine” at Peterborough Cathedral is the first of its kind showcasing the talents of disabled artists,

The Virgin Mary exhibit was created by Marc Bratcher by using state-of-the-art technology such as artificial intelligence.

"I was born with cerebral palsy, I've had it all my life, so it's just part of my life," Bratcher told BBC News.

The exhibition’s goal is to highlight artistic talents of disabled people in “both in religious and non-religious settings".

When the exhibition closes on 7th July one of the artworks will be a permanent feature at Peterborough Cathedral.

Marc Bratcher

Bratcher said: "As far as I'm aware, there has never been a representation or an interpretation of the Virgin Mary as a disabled woman.

"So I'm interested in starting a conversation culturally, theologically, historically, and also what it means for today as well."

Sandie Burns, from Disability Peterborough, said: "You could say that disabled people have been airbrushed out, but they were never put in, in the first place, to be airbrushed out.

"The fact that Mark has put disability at the centre of these pictures is such a good talking point."

Dr Rowan Williams, Canon at Peterborough Cathedral, said she was pleased "to be able to offer a space that helps people with disabilities to see themselves represented in ways that perhaps they haven't before".

"As a person with a mild disability myself, it's something that I feel very strongly about and would want to see us actively doing more to encourage.”

[ The gospel of Matthew is the only one to tell us Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph had sex. ]

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