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Friday, 8 May 2015

Re-imagining Theologies: Asian/American Artists and Faith

Since its inauguration in 2001, the Overseas Ministries Study Center artist in residence program has hosted outstanding Asian Christian artists: Sawai Chinnawong; Marit Kartveit; Hae Sook Chung; Jae-Im Kim; Nyoman Darsane; He Qi; Emmanuel Garibay; Wisnu Sasongko; Huibing He; Hanna Varghese; Nalini Jayasuriya; and Soichi Watanabe.

With initial assistance from the Foundation for Theological Education in Asia, this unique program has been further supported by a special fund honoring the memory and sustaining the artistic vision of the late Paul T. Lauby (1925-2003). Dr. Lauby, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, taught at Silliman University in the Philippines from 1953 to 1968, and then served in New York City as president of the United Board for Higher Education in Asia from 1969 until his retirement in 1989. His interest in Asian Christian art and artists was well known, and he did much to encourage the development of emerging artists.

This program has enriched the local Christian and art communities in New Haven as well as the international sacred art milieu, including the Summer 2007 exhibition "The Christian Story: Five Asian Artists Today," held at MOBIA (Museum of Biblical Art) in New York City, which featured four former artists in residence.

Re-imagining Theologies: Asian/American Artists and Faith is currently at the Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center and features work by Asian and Asian-American Christian artists: David Chang, Sawai Chinnawong, Deborah Fung, Emmanuel Garibay, Huibing He, Nalini Jarasuriya, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Carrie Myers, Wisnu Sasongko, and Hanna Varghese. Their art offers multiple perspectives on Christian faith across cultures, and implicitly addresses outdated assumptions that “most good ideas, including Christian ones, flow outward from the West.”

The Asian artists featured here from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, are “part of the great reversal now taking place, joyfully bringing the Good News back to societies now jaded by outworn theologies and wearied by irrelevant, conformist 'churchianity.” Together with their Asian-American colleagues with roots in China, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, these artists re-imagine what poet Karen An-Hwei Lee calls “theophanies. . . or God visible in our world.”


Karen An-Hwei Lee - On Hierophany.

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