Catholic University of America icon depicts George Floyd as Jesus Christ

The icon is being criticized by students and others for crudely resembling the famous Pietà sculpture. 

This icon hangs in two locations on the Catholic University of America campus. (Kelly Latimore Icons)

A blasphemous painting that depicts George Floyd as Jesus Christ now hangs in two locations on the campus of the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.

Floyd was an African-American man lionized by Black Lives Matter and other radical groups last year after he died following his arrest by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The image in question, titled “Mama,” was installed outside the Mary, Mirror of Justice Chapel at CUA’s Columbus Law School in March following the department’s celebration of Black History Month. A religious sister and priest were on hand for the unveiling.

A duplicate copy also hangs on the wall of the school’s campus ministry office, The Daily Signal reports.

The icon is being criticized by students and others for crudely resembling the famous Pietà sculpture.

The Pietà was created by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo in the late 1490s. It shows the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus Christ’s dead body after his crucifixion.

Kelly Latimore, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, is the 34-year-old creator of the “Mama” icon. He’s produced several other social justice-themed religious paintings as well.

The description placed on the wall next to the “Mama” icon, which portrays a dark-skinned woman embracing a dark-skinned man, states that it was done in remembrance of Floyd.

“Following the violent death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Latimore created this icon in June of that year,” it reads. “The image is evocative of the Pietà — the Mother of Sorrows.”

It continues, “May Mary, the Mirror of Justice hear the cry of all who have known the sorrow of losing a loved one to violence and injustice. Amen.”

Daily Signal journalist Mary Margaret Olohan, the reporter who broke the story, believes CUA is attempting to quell criticism of the painting.

“Catholic University appeared to shrug off responsibility for the painting Monday,” she wrote in her story, “telling The Daily Signal that artist Kelly Latimore’s painting ‘Mama’ depicts ‘the Virgin Mary supporting the body of the dead Christ’ — although the artist has indicated repeatedly that his painting depicts both Floyd and Jesus.”

Olohan, herself a CUA alumna, also reported that the video of the painting’s installation ceremony from March had previously been posted on the university’s website but became private after The Daily Signal sought comment from the school.

The Catholic University of America was founded in 1887 and serves as the United States’ only pontifically approved institute of higher learning. On Friday of last week, it released a year-long study on racial initiatives being taken on campus.

The report touted the need for more “diversity” to be incorporated into the school’s programs. Some students told Olohan they see the report, as well as the “Mama” icon, as the start of a more liberalized, pro-critical race theory agenda being ushered in.


Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and