Two non-Western Christian artists will be featured throughout the month of October in Te Paske Gallery (found in the new Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center). Images of God: Two Christian Artists from Asia features Indonesian artist Wisnu Sasongko and He Qi from the Republic from China.
Each artist brings a unique visual and philosophical perspective to their work. Sasongko’s work, primarily in mixed media and acrylics, emphasizes Christ as a messenger of peace in the context of Asia and the turmoil of the world at large, offering a vision of Christian spirituality as a method of peace and reconciliation. Qi, a professor at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and one of the first mainland Chinese to have a PhD in religious art, attempts to challenge the “Western image” of Christianity by reinterpreting tableaus from the Bible in traditional Chinese artistic styles (such as the minimal water-and-ink Zen form) mixed with techniques from Western art.
According to department chair Karen Acker, the Art department first got the idea for an exhibit about global images of God from the name of the new building. “The name Thea,” she explains, “recalled the Greek word for God, theos, and gave us the idea to hold an exhibition displaying ways in which artists present images of God in their art.”
The search for theistic art began with non-Western sources, “specifically those from Asia, South America and Africa,” in order to show Midwestern Christians other perspectives about the image of God in art.
“What’s great about it is all the support we’ve gotten (as a department) from the school in general and administration in particular,” comments Acker. “Everyone from the administrators to professors to the artists themselves are thrilled about this exhibit. It’s unfortunate that, because of the distance, they couldn’t be here to explain their work.”
While Qi or Sasongko cannot be here, their artwork can, and “sometimes the work speaks for itself in many ways,” Acker said. “The hope of the department at large is that people here will be inspired and encouraged by the result and will want to see what other Christian artists are doing throughout the world. We really do take our Christian environment for granted; to see what someone does in regards to presentation of faith when in a minority position is very interesting to see.”
The exhibit opens on October 10 and runs until November 26. For more information on the artists or their work, check out http://www.asianchristianart.org/profile/HeQi/HeQi.html andhttp://www.asianchristianart.org/profile/Wisnu/Wisnu.html.
Article written with sources provided by www.imagejournal.org and Professor Karen Acker.