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Sweden's first LGBT altarpiece is inaugurated in Malmö


St. Pauli Church in Malmö receives Sweden's first LGBT altarpiece. Artist Elisabeth Ohlson wanted to give the work as a gift to Skara Cathedral in 2012, but the church council thought the work was too political. - It's great that it ends up in Malmö which also represents diversity, the artist tells TT.

At a party on Sunday, the gold curtain is pulled away and Elisabeth Ohlson's work Paradise is performed. The altarpiece is made from an old painting, the reformation artist Lucas Cranach's work Adam and Eve. Elisabeth Ohlson's interpretation contains two Adam and two Evor.

- The blackboard shows that God's love encompasses all people, that all people are created into the image of God. It also includes that people are created to love other people of the same sex, says priest Helena Myrstener, who has long worked for the altarpiece to come to Malmö.

The artist Elisabeth Ohlson had long wanted to make an altarpiece and got the chance when she participated in SVT's program Konstkuppen 2012.

Was considered too political

She then gave it to Skara Cathedral, but the church council in Skara decided that the gift should be returned. One of the reasons was that the church council considered that the painting was political in a way that does not belong to the Swedish Church, something that the Cultural News has previously reported.

When Helena Myrstener, along with another priest in 2014, tried to get the board to Malmö, the church's management said no, she says. But a new opportunity arose when a private person who bought the altarboard heard of it and wanted to donate it to St. Paul's Church in Malmö.

“It is with pride and joy that we receive Paradise in St. Paul's Church. We need images that open up for greater inclusion and identification in the church, ”says work leader Pastor Sofia Tunebro in a press release.

"The time is here"

- The time is ripe now, simply, says Helena Myrstener.

The artist himself thinks that this is more historical than most people understand.

- Since I made Ecce gay, I have studied what art is purchased for the churches. It may sound a little clumsy, but I haven't seen any artwork with LGBTQ connection, she tells TT.

Admittedly, Ecce was gay in Uppsala Cathedral, but it was a slide show, she points out.

- It's great that it ends up in Malmö which also represents diversity, which is great.

Source: svt

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