ArtWay Newsletter December 2015
Newsletter ArtWay December 2015
While darkness and coldness infiltrate our days, we do not only look forward to the coming of warmer and lighter times, but also to the coming of the Light that will expel all that is dark forever. Did you know that of old Advent was a time of preparation, just like Lent coupled with self-examination and fasting? I regret that nowadays we have lost this time of preparation, as because of all the December busyness we threaten to be all of the sudden confronted with a child in a manger without being really ready to welcome him.
The painting above by Irish artist Judith Tutin is nothing but light and warmth. We see the child wrapped in gold, we see an angel, human beings (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings, ourselves) and at the top of the painting God the Father, who spreads his arms open wide above Jesus on the cross in a blessing, presenting, and offering gesture. This combination of the Father and his crucified Son is an old motif in the history of art called the ‘Mercy Seat’. Tutin has linked this motif here with the Christ Child. In this way warmth and blood merge in the red, just like life and death unite in the baby.
A few weeks ago a new song came to my attention, The Christ Hymn by Canadian singer-songwriter Alana Levandoski. It is a true ode to Christ, ‘in whom all things hold together.’ In the song she has incorporated poems about Christ and the incarnation by a number of North-American poets. I would like to share the stunning poem by Joel McKerrow with you:
Placed wholly in human flesh
The infinite squashed down into finite
Like fitting 10.000 angels on the top of a pin
Like the entire ocean is poured into a pool
Like the wine is running over
Like it’s bursting at the seams
He was bursting at the seams
You can listen to this song on the website of Alana Levandoski, go to https://alanalevandoski.com/store-2, a video of the song is on the right and you can buy a video of the song with the words of the poems by Malcolm Guite, Scott Cairns, Joel McKerrow and Luci Shaw for 99 cents.
ArtWay celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. The number of subscribers and visitors steadily keeps on growing, which means that by now we have reached the magical number of 1000 unique visitors a day. Because of the increase in work we have started sending different visual meditations to our Dutch and English speaking subscribers, as this means less translation work. If you are interested, you can subscribe to both. Fortunately, thanks to a list of faithful writers, it has not been hard to get the necessary meditations together. I like to think of our contributors as a community of writers that has formed itself through the ArtWay website, even as a community of artists and art lovers.
A milestone this year was the publication (in Dutch) of the Handbook for Art in the Church, that Aniko Ouweneel-Tóth and I were allowed to put together. We had a crowdfunding action in support of the book with results that were heartwarming. It is very special that a Reformed country like the Netherlands is opening itself to art in the church.
Another highlight for myself was my visit in June to the CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) conference in Grand Rapids, where I was asked to participate in a number of panels. It was a feast to meet so many artists, art thinkers and collectors for the first time and to get a better idea of what is happening in the visual arts in North-America. I was left with the impression that we in Europe still have a lot to learn from our fellow travelers there.
This year, Victoria Emily Jones has joined the ArtWay team as Assistant Editor. She has great skill in editing and writing and has been a very welcome help to us. Laurel Gasque, our Canadian Associate Editor, has also steadfastly and steadily contributed to the ArtWay output this past year despite many other commitments.
Finally, we would like to ask for your support of our work. We all work as volunteers and thus with minimal expenses, but without your gift ArtWay would not be possible. Therefore, a big word of thanks to all of you who supported us last year! Your gift can be remitted online. Go here to give a donation.
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The ArtWay board and team wish you a blessed Christmas and 2016.
Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker and Laurel Gasque