We just found an amazing discovery during the demolition of our newhome: a 40-year-old wall-length mural of an all-black Last Supper by D.C. artist Akili Ron Anderson.
D.C. residents might be familiar with Akili’s work. He created the stained glass at the Columbia Heights Metro Station and the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church.
We recently met with Akili who told us about the mural’s history. Akili knew the janitor at Duke Ellington who happened to be on the trustee board of the New Home Baptist Church and the future home of Studio Acting Conservatory.
Akili grew up a block from the church and walked past it “a million times.” The pastor commissioned Akili to create a painting, but at that point he was well into the sculpture phase of his career and proposed one instead. Painting or sculpture, the parishioners definitely wanted the commission to be of The Last Supper.
Akili did the work, by himself, on Sundays over the course of a year in between other projects. It was spiritual work for him. The images of the apostles were based off of people on the street and from the congregation. He was delighted that his mother had the opportunity to see the finished piece.
The church continued to grow and eventually moved out to PG County for more space. The Church of the Latter Day Saints bought the church and ended up covering the mural with a wall.
The piece is absolutely magnificent, both in beauty and scale. We are committed to preserving and finding it an appropriate home.
Guest Author: Joy Zinoman, Artistic Director, Acting Studio Conservatory