Kerry James Marshall has been chosen to design new windows for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, church officials said. Previous windows, which were donated by the Daughters of Confederation in 1953, paid homage to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
In 2015, windows became a point of contention. Two years later, in 2017, the National Cathedral decided to remove the two stained glass windows honoring Lee and Jackson. At the time, nine people had just been murdered in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by white supremacist Dylann Roof. The shooting prompted church leaders to think deeply about the presence of Confederate symbols in the National Cathedral.
“At the moment, I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m thinking of doing,” Marshall said. the New York Times. “It will have to be a job capable of synthesizing a multiplicity of ideas and feelings about what the country represents for all of us. There will be some kind of imagery that comes across as an invitation to reflect on the meaning of America now. “
Marshall is a distinguished contemporary artist well known for his commitment to social justice, noir portrayal, and American history. In 2020, Marshall’s work was featured on the cover of VogueSeptember 2020 issue.
In 2018, Marshall pledged never to create public artwork again after the city of Chicago attempted to sell his mural. Knowledge and power (1995), that he painted for the Chicago Public Library. Although the city reconsidered its choice to sell the work, Marshall has remained disillusioned so far.
This project represents the first time that Marshall has worked with stained glass. He collaborates with the poet Elizabeth Alexander, who will write a poem to be installed in stone tablets along the windows. The new windows are expected to be unveiled in 2023.