The Risen Christ in the ‘Indian Way’

Wesley appearance fishermen

This striking painting by the Indian artist Frank Wesley (1923 – 2002) shows the Resurrection appearance of Christ to the fishermen, as described in St John’s Gospel. (John 21).

Wesley was born in India and studied art in Lucknow, and later Japan. He had a passion to illustrate Biblical scenes in what he described as ‘our own Indian way.’ In 1973 he emigrated to Australia, continuing to paint. The missionary and artist Naomi Wray knew Frank Wesley in India and here she makes some comments about this painting.

“The risen Christ stands in the sand on the bank, speaking to the two disciples still seated in a small fishing boat just grounded.

To still their obvious fear, he holds his right hand down, palm outward in the Indian gesture of blessing, showing the stigmata from the nails by which he was held to the cross.

His palm is covered with saffron paste, signifying his suffering, and we are reminded that such paste is utilised in sacrificial worship in India. Christ’s single flowing garment is also saffron ….

The disciples are the color of their boat, a rich brown which indicates life as it is, and reminds us that they went back to their old occupation after Jesus’ death ….

At the far end of the land upon which Christ stands, the ground gives way to blue and brown mixed and one feels that there are villages there and cities – the whole world stretched beyond.

The gold leaf of the sky, which indicates the living presence of God, is applied over a base of vermillion, the colour for joy”

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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