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Artist's £25,000 Homeless Jesus sculpture unveiled

The life-sized artwork in Glasgow shows Christ lying on a bench under a blanket.

Homeless Jesus: Paid for by donations.
Homeless Jesus: Paid for by donations. STV

A £25,000 sculpture of Jesus intended to highlight the plight of homeless people has been unveiled in Glasgow.

The life-sized artwork, Homeless Jesus, shows Christ lying on a bench covered by a blanket with only his stigmatized feet showing.

It was unveiled on Thursday outside St George's Tron on Nelson Mandela Place by Glasgow Churches Together (GCT).

Spokeswoman Elspeth Glasgow insisted money spent on the artwork had not been diverted away from practical services for homeless people.

"The money for the sculpture was donated by 25 people who each raised £1000," she said.

"They already give money to homeless projects and they work with the Glasgow City Mission - they all feel it's a good use of the money."

Unveiled: Sculpture stands outside St George's Tron church.
Unveiled: Sculpture stands outside St George's Tron church. STV

Homeless Jesus is one of around 50 copies of an original work by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz but the first in the UK.

Mr Schmalz first approached Father Willy Slavin, a former parish priest at St Simon's Church in Partick, about bringing it to Glasgow.

Father Slavin then organised the fundraising effort and installation of the statue with the help of Glasgow Churches Together.

He said: "Christmas is a time when people are more likely to show concern, kindness and generosity towards the rough sleepers in our society.

"But the homelessness issue is with us all year round. This thought-provoking work of art can act as a daily reminder."

A painting by Peter Howson inspired by Homeless Jesus will be on display inside St George's Tron until Christmas.

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