Hackney artist replaces Jesus’ name with his own for Stoke Newington ‘BIBLE’ exhibition

A Hackney artist has copied out every word of the New Testament and replaced the name of Jesus with his own.

Joseph Steele had a rare form of tuberculosis when he created his ‘BIBLE’, which went on show inside Stoke Newington’s Abney Park Chapel on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, who lives off Newington Green, spent months in bed copying out 178,000 words from the New Testament after being diagnosed with the contagious infection in March.

The former Newcastle University student has already raised eyebrows by screening a film of two friends having sex – in the name of art.

He denied that his most recent piece purely aimed to shock.

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“I wasn’t really trying to be controversial,” he said.

“This is a very personal piece for me and that’s partly why I organised the private show – because I knew it could be misinterpreted. I think overall people were inspired by what I had managed to do.”

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Joseph started researching his project by joining Alpha Christianity courses and says the work comments on society’s obsession with celebrity culture.

It was displayed in a private viewing inside the grade two-listed chapel, which was opened in the 1840s as a landmark to religious toleration, for one night only. Joseph said no-one had raised any objections.

But is it art? “Of course it is art,” he said. “I put it there and I said it was.”

Joseph Steele’s BIBLE is on sale at his website www.getonthewall.com.

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