Monday, September 24, 2012

A Brief History of Visual Contextualization in India: A.D. Thomas

The Transfiguration by A.D. Thomas

Alfred David Thomas (1907-1989) was an Anglican Indian who studied at the Lucknow Art School in Santiniketan, where he studied under Bireswar Sen and Nandalal Bose.  Sen himself was influenced by French book illustrator Edmund Dulac, who produced illustrations for children's classics such as The Arabian NightsSleeping Beauty, and Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, among others (his work is really great!).  Thomas later attended Visva Bharati University under Rabindranath's nephew, Abanindranath Tagore (the father of modern Indian art), and also studied in Florence, Italy.  He married in Italy and eventually moved to England where he lived until his death in 1989.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Jesus Question: Culture is God’s idea

Creation by Sawai Chinnawong

Here's the first of a two-part series called "Culture is God's Idea" by Victoria Jones at The Jesus Question.  In it, she gives a summary of an essay by Andy Crouch called “The Gospel: How Is Art a Gift, a Calling, and an Obedience?”, from the book For the Beauty of the Church.  I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts about the essay in the second post, because the summarized ideas presented here are definitely food for thought.  She begins:

[Crouch] packs so many insights into fifteen pages, with two main emphases:  God’s creation and blessing of culture in the Garden of Eden and during the Last Supper, and the “uselessness” of art (linked to the uselessness of prayer and praise).

Both ideas are intriguing and, especially for this blog, the first is very important: although human culture began in the Garden of Eden, I had never thought of God Himself as the first "culture-maker." He began this process by manipulating his previously-created resources to form the garden, and then gave it to Adam to continue cultivating (Genesis 2:8).  For more, click the link above!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Incarnate 2013: The OM Arts School of Mission

Calling all artists: if you have a passion for serving Christ overseas with your artistic talents, read on.

Incarnate 2013, the OM Arts School of Mission, will take place from Wednesday, Febuary 13 – Saturday, May 04 2013 in Torino, Italy.

It's purpose is to "graduate artists passionate and prepared to employ their gift for long term ministry, especially in Europe... you will learn and practice an incarnational approach to ministering through the arts."  To find out more about this incarnational approach, check out the school's latest blog post here.

If you're an artist and want in on the adventure, they're now taking applications for visual artists, dancers and musicians.  Deadline to apply is November 15, 2012.  For more on how the school got started last year, see this article.

*** UPDATE: Incarnate 2014 has been cancelled and rescheduled for 2014.  For more info, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Brief History of Visual Contextualization in India: The Bengal Renaissance and the Birth of Modern Indian Christian Art

Hindostan or British India map, c.1864.

Continuing in my intermittent series on visual contextualization in India, I want to give an overview on the Bengal Renaissance and its influence on 20th century Indian Christian artists.

Orientalist official of the
East India Company (circa 1760)
After the decline of the Mugal Empire in the mid-17th century, India came under the rule of various regional leaders called rajas.  About a century later, the privately-funded British East India Company took control over large areas of India, exporting cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium to Britain and Europe.  It eventually ruled over "India with its own private army, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions... In the modern era, its history is strongly associated with corporate abuse, colonialism, exploitation, and monopoly power."  It was absorbed into the British government's direct control in 1874.