This image is a distant relative of Giovanni Bellini’s The Agony in the Garden (c. 1465). The scene is a hill outside Sunderland – in the distance is the Stadium of Light. The central figure, Tim’s stepfather, a club singer, hints at Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (1512–16). A naively-drawn shipyard crane stands in for the crucifix, with Tim’s mother as Mary below it – once again in the throes of an earthly passion. Tim, in grammar school uniform, blocks his ears, squirming in embarrassment. A computer magazine sticks out of his bag, betraying his early enthusiasm for software. To the left, a younger Tim plays happily with his step-grandfather outside his pigeon cree on the allotments. To the right, young men with their customised cars gather in the car park of ‘Heppies’ social club. Mrs T and the call centre manager await a new recruit into the middle class.
Text courtesy of the artist.