For Easter 2018, Bompas & Parr presents an event that aims to bridge the gap between bodybuilding and theology in the world’s first bible-based bodybuilding competition: Tonk as God.
On Thursday, 29th March, this high energy and thought-provoking experience will present competitive professional bodybuilders in deliberately religious poses that comment and contrast on the portrayal of the human body across centuries of fine art. The bodybuilding competition will be further contextualised with discussions from a panel of esteemed academics from the world of art history, curation and Christianity.
The event is open to the public to attend, with a ticket price of just £15 and is hosted by The Old Church, in Stoke Newington in east London.
The world of fine art and pumping iron collide
Arguably, the most renowned depiction of body image is the execution of Jesus Christ, a moment utterly central to Christian faith. Representations of this event in paintings and sculpture have varied immensely over time, from triumphant muscular crucifixions to weaker-limbed portrayals of Jesus wearing only a loincloth.
Across the course of Christian history, the characters of the Bible have been represented in numerous styles and fashions, frequently referencing contemporary notions of beauty and bodily perfection, mirroring evolving human understanding of nudity and notions of beauty, perfection and the sense of self.The emergence of bodybuilding, which rose to popularity during the 1890s, is arguably the most iconic interpretation of perception of physical perfection.
Those entering our bodybuilding competition will be asked to take part in a number of heats inspired by the dramatic and ever visceral landscape of Christianity. These athletes will be judged on a number of criteria designed especially to celebrate the Easter break, inspired by key scenes and moments in the bible.
Each round will begin with a full sensory assault: our catwalk of Christian characters will be presented amid smoke, lights and sound as if in a scene played out in heaven itself. Competitors will then showcase the overall quality of their muscle development and also their ability to embody the very essence of Biblical characters, additionally answering questions from our hosts, judging team and studio audience according to the theme of a series of heats. These will include:
Genesis: Adam and Eve battle it out with Noah for our first trophy of the evening Exodus: Moses and Pharoah battle it out to be the night’s cult leader Ancient Israel: David, Goliath, Samson and Delilah
The competition, which is being conducted with the full support of The Old Church N16, an Elizabethan church which is still regularly used for worship. It will be hosted from start to finish by our experience evangelist who will commentate on the event and preach the word of Easter.
Key figures in fine art, art curation, psychology and religion
As well as kick-starting the long weekend with an electrifying piece of Easter entertainment, the event will allow attendees to question how religious figures through time relate to their own body image and perception. Confirmed areas of discussion include hero worship, the meaning and quality of religious art and a special lecture from Sam Bompas on how to become the ultimate icon.
The evening will also feature music to get totally pumped up to, a Tonk as God dressing station, opportunities to learn key bodybuilding moves directly from the pros, an edible cuccagna of protein, Holy Spirit life drawing and a final collective ritual that celebrates Easter and the beginning of the long holiday.