John the Baptist preaching in the desert.

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Title:John the Baptist preaching in the desert
Notes:JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa. Each of the readings was selected and adapted to dramatic interpretation by the community members. Photographs of their interpretations were made, and these were then transcribed to paintings.

John the Baptist dramatically preaches by the water’s edge to his audience that consists of common people as well as religious leaders. He appears to be in the middle of his harsh pronouncement on the Pharisees and Sadducees, calling them a “brood of vipers.” They stand at the right-hand side of the painting, arms folded, seemingly indignant at John’s words. The rest of the crowd watches and listens intently to John, curious and enthralled by the scene before them. In the distance there are some figures approaching the group. Could it be Jesus on the way to his baptism?


Scripture:Matthew 3:1-12
Luke 3:1-6
Person as Subject:John, the Baptist (Biblical figure)
Lectionary links:AAdvt02
General Subject:Desert
Culture: African
Culture: Black
Library of Congress Subject:Christian art and symbolism -- Cameroon

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Copyright Permission:For non-commercial uses, include with the image the Attribution statement below. Variations of the statement are fine as long as the elements in the Attribution statement are included. For other uses contact Éditions de l’Emmanuel,
Attribution:JESUS MAFA. John the Baptist preaching in the desert, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 19, 2024]. Original source: (contact page:
Record Number:48386 Last Updated: 2022-04-28 14:28:11 Record Created: 2006-12-21 00:00:00
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition