It’s 1962 and a young artist, Ronald Harrison, defiantly expresses his frustration at and anger for the apartheid government. He uses art to expose apartheid’s injustices and to insist on his (suppressed) right to freedom of expression in a racialist authoritarian state.
Harrison’s painting causes an international furore; with metaphorical ingenuity he presents to the world the plight of the oppressed majority in South African. The painting is banned and deemed subversive and blasphemous by the apartheid censorship board. Harrison is then repeatedly arrested, and subjected to sinister forms of interrogation and torture by the infamous South African apartheid security police as they attempt to acquire and destroy his painting.
But the painting survives through being exiled to Britain, from where it tours Europe extensively. Whilst traveling through Europe the painting heightens awareness about South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime and raises a considerable amount of money, which is used to ameliorate the suffering of the victims of apartheid.
The film is told using interviews with the artist, Ronald Harrison, and other political, familial, religious and art commentators. It uses drama re-enactments, and press and politico-historical archives.
The Black Christ documentary film is a provoking account of the convergence of religion, art, politics, history and human agency in the struggle against oppression and injustice.