The St. Paul's Church in Malmö unveiled the image, which is placed above an altar, at the beginning of the Advent period. The church says it is “proud and excited” with the new art piece. “We need images that open up for greater inclusion and identification in the church,” the Church of Sweden says in a press release.
The image, named The Paradise, is made by the Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, who recently gave the art piece to the church. She grew up in the seventies in a small city in the middle of Sweden, where being a young gay person was difficult. The artist says she missed images in the church with which she could identify herself.
The Paradise includes a male and a female same-sex couple. “It places homosexuals in the beginning of God’s creation,” the church says. Above the couples, a transgender woman sits in a tree, in the role of the snake.
“We are grateful for Elizabeth's artistry, which enables us to create a credible church that shows that we all, regardless of who we love and identify as, fit into Paradise,” the church stated.