The painting, a giclee print on archival canvas, was presented to the pope during his visit to Jerusalem on May 12 by Wadie Abunassar, media coordinator of the Pope’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
“The pope just said ‘thank you’ and stood for a moment of respect in front of the ‘Savior’ painting,” Abunassar said in an e-mail.
Abounassar said she is extremely moved by the honor.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s something I’ve worked for in my life. It’s really something amazing for me. I couldn’t believe it. It’s a really big honor.”
The digital reproduction of the original oil was made by Geoff Graham, owner of Graham Editions in Canoga Park.
“The original was 11-by-14 I think, and I enlarged it to 22-by-28,” Graham said, adding he reproduced the original with a high-resolution digital scan back.
Graham said he was very impressed with the painting.
“I loved it,” he said. “I’m blown away with it. It’s an absolutely stunning piece.”
It was also quite a thrill knowing the pope was the first to receive a print of it, he added.
“When I saw the photo on the website, I e-mailed her to congratulate her and said, ‘Your family must be proud of you as I am to be part of this,’” he said.
Abounassar, 28, first received recognition for her artwork when she was 5, winning first place in her kindergarten class in Lebanon.
She drew a church with a nun and people going to pray on one side of the paper and people who were playing and not going to church on the other side. The nun was carrying a rosary with people walking behind her.