Art can help us see the world as not opaque to God's presence but charged with it. David Taylor

Maria Gabankova: Peacekeeper

ArtWay Visual Meditation May 6, 2018

Maria Gabankova: Peacekeeper and The New Song


by Maria Gabankova

In the painting entitled Peacekeeper a silent figure of a soldier frozen by fear occupies a confined space, into which a harsh light casts a shadow larger than life. The soldier’s face is no longer visible. It is distorted by violence. Is it still alive or dead?

This painting is a protest against the madness of war, an act by humans of ultimate and senseless destruction of the miracle of life and of all God’s creation.

In contrast I ponder the magnificent beauty of nature in spring unfolding in wonderful complexity and the myriads of new discoveries and inventions by human beings. Everything points to the mystery of all being and above all to the mystery of the great I AM.

Then my soul is troubled asking why after all the centuries of wars we are still plagued by this evil of violence and war.

Who then is a peacekeeper? And who is a peacemaker today? Who will speak out for peace? And what is the peace that Jesus spoke of when he said: ‘Peace I give to you’?

Yes, there will be peace. This painting, entitled The New Song, is a fusion of a real-life celebration of friends and family gathered over a meal and a vision of an anticipated heavenly banquet prepared for those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

Other spiritual realities include the Tree of Life for the Healing of Nations, musical instruments represent the new song of praise to God and the food delights symbolize all the marvelous things that God has prepared for the redeemed.

Each face is intentionally unique, each person an individual who gains their full potential in communion with other believers through the power of God’s mercy and Christ’s redeeming love and salvation.


Maria Gabankova: Peacekeeper, 1999, acrylics on canvas, 140 x 110 cm.

Maria Gabankova: The New Song, 2002, acrylics on canvas, 152 x 127 cm.

Maria Gabankova was born in former Czechoslovakia and grew up with her brother Jan in the family of the artists Antonia Laník-Gabanek and Jozef Gabanek. Following the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 Maria's family left for Austria and later immigrated to Canada. She now lives with her husband Aleš Březina in Toronto. Since 1978 she has exhibited extensively in Canada, U.S.A and internationally. Recent solo shows include Sculpture Time, Rentz Museum of Baroque Print, Kuks, Czech Republic 2017-2018, Home/ Residents & Dissidents, at Loop Gallery, Toronto 2016, Not Leaving in Ostrava, Czech Republic 2014. In 2007 British Publisher Piquant Editions published Body Broken/Body Redeemed, a selection of Maria’s works, with 68 pages of reproductions in full color and an introduction by John Franklin. From 1991 till 2015 Maria was an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto, teaching figure drawing, painting and portraiture. Portraiture holds a special focus in the artist's practice with an impressive record of commissioned portraits of well-known figures of the Czech and Slovak cultural scene as well as for the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.



1. ARTWAY – For Pentecost we posted a meditation by Laurence Mottier about The Spirit Searches by Donna Shasteen in our Christian Calendar section. Click here

2. INTERVIEW – Michael Takeo Magruder has used new media, including real-time data, digital archives, immersive environments, mobile devices and virtual worlds to explore creative visions inspired by and based on the book of Revelation. Jonathan Evens’ interview with the artist can be read here:  

3. ENGLAND – Why Beauty Matters, June 16. A one-day event organized by Morphe Arts to celebrate the value of beauty in contemporary creative culture.  What is beauty? Why is it important for us today? How can we offer something more than sentiment or ideal? The concept of beauty is deeply embedded in the historical discourses of art, theology and the church yet the term has been conspicuously absent in recent years. Experts in the field of theology, design, music, performance and art will discuss why beauty has become a slippery subject and how Christians can offer a robust, credible and hopeful response. Expect the best of art, the finest of music and the heartiest debate. Speakers include Ben Quash, Adrienne Chaplin and Ally Gordon. 10am-6pm All Souls, Langham Place, London Booking is now open with early bird rates for the next few days.

4. AWARD – Catherine Andrews Kapikian was recently presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who's Who. “Decades of continuous design and execution of site-specific, liturgical art works sustain Ms. Catherine Kapikian's working relationship with Wesley Theological Seminary (WTS) in Washington, D C. As Artist-in-Residence and member of the faculty since 1980, as founder and director of the WTS Center for the Arts and Religion from 1984 to 2008 (renamed the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion in 2001), she currently holds the title of Founder and Director Emerita of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion, and since 2009, Distinguished Artist-in-Residence.” Read more

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