Friday, October 31, 2014

Orality Strategies - The Storying Gourd

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.

From Orality Strategies:

The Storying Gourd, Peru.

In a traditional Peruvian art form, artists hand carve scenes onto a gourd. Several of them were on display in a particular artisan shop. A Christian worker had been storying with the shop's owner and he asked her about the carved gourds. She said that her father is one of the people who makes these beautiful gourds. The Christian worker told her the Creation to Church story and asked her if she could have her father make one of these gourds depicting that story. The shop owner told her father the story and drew the scenes out on a piece of paper. He carved a gourd to depict this story. 
Using local art forms is an effective way to connect Scripture to the traditional culture. It's also an incentive for artists to learn and contemplate biblical truth. Scripture enters their imagination and the imagination of people who see their artwork, which becomes a ready conversation-starter for talking about the stories of Jesus.
For more on orality, read "What is Orality?" on Orality Strategies' website, plus lots of other great info there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can Christians celebrate Diwali?

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.


Here's some food for thought regarding the Hindu holiday Diwali, which is celebrated this year on October 24: the Morman-owned news organization Deseret News asks: "Can Christians celebrate Diwali?"  It describes various opinions regarding an altered, Christocentric version based loosely on some of the holiday's major themes (light vs. darkness, etc.).  I'm not taking a position on this article, just offering it as something to generate thoughts and discussions.

You can see my previous posts about contextualizing aspects of Diwali here and here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Jesus Question: Is giving Christ African features heretical, or at the very least neglectful?

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.



Please head over to The Jesus Question for the introductory post on a book called African Theology in Images by Martin Ott, a 600-page exploration of the African Christian art that has come out of the KuNgoni Art Craft Centre in Mua, Malawi. This is the first of several posts that blogger Victoria Emily Jones plans to write about this important book. If you're interested at all in African art, Christianity, and contextualization, then please follow the rest of her thought-provoking posts about this book. And the rest of her blog is great as well!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Angelo da Fonseca: Portrait of an Eclectic Genius

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at
hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.




Vivek Menezes reviews an article by Rupert Arrowsmith in the current issue of Art India magazine about the legacy of one of India's greatest Christian artists, Angelo da Fonseca.  Unfortunately, Arrowsmith's article is only available by subscription.

Menezes writes:

Until his death in 1967, [da Fonseca] painstakingly created a magnificent oeuvre of uniquely cross-cultural paintings that are among the most remarkable contributions to 20th century art from any painter, anywhere in the world. 
But until 2014, the artist's reputation never caught up to his achievement. As Arrowsmith notes in 'Portrait of an Eclectic Genius', "it is very telling that Angelo da Fonseca...has needed to wait until this year for his first ever inclusion in a survey of the Indian 20th century icons."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Steve Taylor's Pukehinahina Cross Call to Worship

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.

I found this 2012 Pukehinahina Cross Call to Worship posted at sustain:if:able kiwi, the blog of Steve Taylor.  He is currently the Principal of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in South Australia and the author of The Out of Bounds Church? Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change.  He also writes monthly film reviews for Touchstone and has blogged regularly since 2002.

The following are his posts from June 13, 2012 and June 20, 2012:


June 13, 2012
a contextual visual for mission 2
Other visual theologies of mission here and here.


Pukehinahina Cross, St Georges Anglican Church,
Gate Pa, New Zealand. Used with permission.

Carved by James Tapiata for St Georges Anglican Church at Gate Pa. Used by permission. Not to be used in any form without permission from St Georges.

The greenstone Maori fish hook is entwined around the cross, to remember Christ’s mission as a fisher of people and to show the ties between two people – Maori and Pakeha. Greenstone is of immense importance in Maori culture, both spiritually and historically. Although not stated on the church website, the fish hook is likely to reference “Hei-Matau”, a common Maori carving pattern, in which fishing was simply a way of gathering food. In this context, it would symbolise prosperity, determination, leadership and good health, as well as safe journey over water.


June 20, 2012
Finding words for worship

I’ve been asked to provide a call to worship at the Church Synod on Friday evening. My general rule of thumb is to work with what’s engaging me. Last week I posted this,


Pukehinahina Cross, St Georges Anglican Church,
Gate Pa, New Zealand. Used with permission.

Which, with a bit of research, over the weekend I have shaped into the following Call to worship -

Leader: The cross,
offering reconciliation, making enemies friends,
All: May we, reconciled and reconciling, feel again Your call to mercy

Leader: The greenstone,
an item of treasure and value in Maori culture
All: May we, Your treasures in earthen clay, hear afresh Your call to value each other

Leader: The fishhook, carved in reference to Jesus invitation,
Come follow me: I will make you fishers of people
All: May we, Your fisher folk, experience anew Your call to mission

Leader: The fishhook, a pattern commonly carved in Maori culture
a symbol for a journey, speaking of the need for shared courage, wise leadership and safety in troubled times
All: May we, Your pilgrim people, find together new courage, wise leadership and surprising joy,

Leader: In our shared journey, Shaped always by this cross of Christ. Amen

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beatus: The Spanish Apocalypse

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.

If you're going to be in the NYC area on October 15, 2014, you might enjoy attending this documentary film screening at The Morgan Library & Museum.  I know very little about the subject matter but it definitely qualifies as an indigenous/celtic/etc. form of visual art.  For more info click here.

Beatus: The Spanish Apocalypse

(2014, 85 minutes)
Director: Murray Grigor


In about 776 the Spanish monk Beatus compiled his commentary on the Apocalypse in order to prepare his fellow monks for the end of time. In this world premiere screening, scholar John Williams examines the Beatus tradition, preserved in illustrated examples dating from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. Their brilliant and provocative illustrations resonate to this day, and will be featured in the film, as will the monasteries that created them. Presented by MUSE Film and Television; Hamid Shams, Director of Photography; music by Rory Boyle. The Morgan's Beatus manuscripts will be on view.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Christian Altar Cross from the Solomon Islands

Please Note: All posts on this blog are intended for informational purposes only, not as an evaluation or endorsement of any artist, art form, organization or website.  If you have concerns about the accuracy of any information presented please contact the author at hmsarthistorian@gmail.com.

Rare Christian Altar Cross Inlaid with Pearl Shell
Solomon Islands, circa 1900. 62cm x 33cm x 19.5cm