Notable Art Work Gifted to MCC Toronto

MCC Toronto has been gifted an extraordinary work of art by collector and philanthropist James Burn and artist Edwina Sandys.

Titled Christa ceramic I, 2022, a stoneware sculpture fired with a metallic bronze glaze, depicts Jesus Christ as a woman mounted on a turquoise painted cross. The work was installed in the church’s recently renovated Sanctuary and unveiled at its Good Friday Service to a rapt congregation.

Artist Edwina Sandys says the work was inspired by the desire to raise and challenge the question of gender in the patriarchal Christian context, and has been reimagined in this unique 2022 ceramic piece.

“We take this gift as an extraordinary honour and privilege,” says Rev. Deana Dudley (she/they). “MCC Toronto has always existed as a place that pushes boundaries, and challenges traditional ideas of gender and theology. Christa ceramic I encapsulates the heart and spirit of MCC Toronto beautifully, and we are grateful to James and Edwina for thinking of us as the perfect home for this provocative and exquisite work of art.”

“I have always been deeply impressed by MCC Toronto for its openness and its record of human rights work” says James Burn, a Partner at the Toronto based international consulting firm BrandActive. “I am proud and delighted that Edwina’s work will now, and in perpetuity, serve as a visual extension of MCC Toronto’s work and mission.”

Have you seen our Christa yet? What do you think? Let us know your thoughts at

Edwina Sandys Bio:

British born, New York-based artist Edwina Sandys has, over the course of her 40-year career, received international acclaim for paintings, prints and sculptures that boldly address themes and issues related to women’s rights, democracy, freedom and peaceful existence. Her approach and style are characterized by a lyrical interplay between positive form and negative space in two and three-dimensions that embody metaphors for human presence and absence, and the role of the individual within society.

Creatively ambitious and restless, Sandys evolved her early work from exploring the personal and the everyday to addressing urgent social issues, particularly those related to women. Over time she became well-known for monumental public sculptures advocating for social justice that are displayed in various cities worldwide. These include permanent commissions by the United Nations in Geneva, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, and New York.

Perhaps her most well-known and controversial work is Christa, (1974), a near-life-size bronze sculpture of a nude, female figure crucified on a cross. Christa was exhibited at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in 1984 but was removed in the midst of world wide publicity. The work travelled to many venues through the 1980s, and 30 years later was returned to the Cathedral where it remains on permanent view.

A fiercely independent spirit whose career has unfolded on her own terms, Edwina Sandys is active and prolific into the fifth decade of her practice, and her concerns around issues of social justice and equality for women seem as relevant within the context of current global events as ever before. In 2007 her landmark sculptural commission, Pillars of Justice, was unveiled in the ‘McMurtry Gardens of Justice’ on University Avenue in Toronto. A survey exhibition, ‘Edwina Sandys Woman Free’, was held at Iona Studio Gallery & Projects in Toronto in 2021.

James Burn Bio:

James Burn is a British born Canadian business man, philanthropist and art collector. He is a founding partner of the international consulting firm BrandActive ( and sits on the boards of The Veritas Foundation and The Council for Canadian American Relations.

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