Art Defense Fund creators Margaret MacKinnon and Wayne McArdle with 'double' adopteR Beverley McLachlin.

Art Defense Fund creators Margaret MacKinnon and Wayne McArdle with 'double' adopteR Beverley McLachlin.

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There is nothing better than matching the story of 'real people' with Nelli's Renaissance story. Nelli ran a thriving painting workshop at a time when it was unheard of for organized groups of women to generate income. To paint the Last Supper, Nelli worked with nuns she trained, and the painting shows evidence of being executed by several painterly hands, as was the case for most bottega-generated masterpieces in the 1500s. Its restoration is also a collective effort!

Here's a glimpse at participants of The Art Defense Fund. We hope you'll join them. We at AWA are happy to see the development of this growing group effort... The figure of Judas deserves to be saved.

The Art Defense Fund was conceived as a project that would appeal particularly to members of the legal profession whose training includes the principle that anyone accused of wrongdoing deserves a fair hearing and the best possible defense. But it seems that the figure of Judas can attract other advocates – not solely those with a background in the law.

The inaugural member of the ADF is Sarah Dunant, the British historian, broadcaster and best-selling author. A long-standing supporter of AWA, Sarah chose to support Judas in recognition of his central role in the story of the Last Supper. It is impossible to imagine the story of Christ's death and resurrection without the inclusion of Judas and his role in the unfolding drama.

The second donor to the ADF is a retired Canadian schoolteacher, Monica Martin. At almost 94 years of age, Mrs. Martin is AWA's oldest sponsor. She devoted her working life to teaching high school students Economics, Math and Business Studies. It is easy to imagine her presiding over her classroom with the same authority and mastery with which Nelli ran her convent workshop.

Beverley McLachlin, the first female Chief Justice of Canada's Supreme Court, is the most recent member of the ADF. Nelli's Saint Judas Thaddeus was adopted in Beverley's honor on the occasion of her retirement from the Court. Now she is sponsoring the Other Judas, a figure whose complex character and conflicting motivations are often overlooked.