Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ethiopian Christ Enthroned in Majesty

Ethiopian Icon, 17th century.

From Scribal Terror:

This stunning illustration comes from a manuscript on display at the British Museum. It was "commissioned in the last years of the 17th century by Emperor Iyasu I Yohannes of Ethiopia for use in his royal city of Gondar." Note the symbols of the apostles surrounding the enthroned Christ: Matthew the Man, John the Eagle, Luke the Ox, and Mark the Lion. I find it interesting how the compressed bodies, large-eyed faces, and stylized positioning reflect the Coptic (Egyptian) style, but do it in such a distinctive manner.

For this and other Ethiopian and Egyptian icons, plus an exposition of Coptic symbolism, read the rest of the article here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ethnoarts Training in UK: Arts For a Better Future

If you will be in the UK in July of this year and want to receive training in using arts cross-culturally in missions, then please check out the Arts For a Better Future program that will be offered at All Nations Christian College near London.  The brochure for the week-long event states:

This course is designed for arts practitioners who want to use their skills in cross-cultural mission or multicultural contexts. The training will be focused on giving practical and creative research skills to work in a cross-cultural community alongside local musicians, dancers, actors, artists and storytellers. The aim is for you to be able help local communities draw on their artistic resources to help them respond to their spiritual, social and physical needs and help them move towards the kingdom of God.
Arts for a Better Future is run by All Nations in partnership with the International Council of Ethnodoxologists.  Leaders of the event will be Dr Robin Harris, Dr Brian Schrag, Ian Collinge and Jill Ford.  Read and/or download the event brochure here.

Below is a video of the same event presented in Dallas last summer:

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Marrakesh: Kabul and the Quest for Beauty

I thought I'd share these three posts from the blog My Marrakesh, showing photos of artisans at work in Kabul, Afghanistan.  The art forms represented here are (as far as I know, except for the contemporary fashion designer) prevalent throughout Islamic cities and are beautiful wherever they are found.  Unfortunately there isn't much information, so just enjoy the photos found at each link (I've included only one photo per link below).

Kabul and the quest for beauty: a tale of the miniaturists and the search for perfection

Kabul and the quest for beauty: a tale of the wood carvers

Kabul and the quest for beauty: a tale of Zarif Design

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Richard Twiss (Taoyate Obnajin): "He Stands with His People"

Richard Twiss (Taoyate Obnajin): "He Stands with His People"

I had hoped to someday meet Richard in this life but thank God that I will have all eternity to get to know him better.  Richard was a Native American Christian who advocated the idea that indigenous people could follow Christ according to their cultural patterns of worship, dress and the arts.  He also worked to help strengthen the North American indigenous community, both Christian and non-Christian.  All believers, both western and indigenous, would do well to reflect on his writings and words (regardless of whether you agree with every point).  His books include: One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You, Culture, Christ, and Kingdom Study Guide, and Rescuing Theology from the Cowboys: An Emerging Indigenous Expression of the Jesus Way in North America.  

I deeply admired Richard's faith and ministry and truly think that he has been a great and godly example for many who call Jesus savior. I praise our Father in heaven for how He has used this man to advance His kingdom and bring blessing and healing to so many people!

For other (and more eloquent) reflections on the impact Richard had on the lives of others, read here and here.  And be sure to check out his organization's website, Wiconi International.  Below is a video of Richard discussing the need for the American church to embrace their indigenous brothers and sisters as co-equals in Christ.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Art as Culture: Chapter 3 Review

Shaping an Earthen Pot by Doranne Jacobson. 

In my sporadically ongoing chapter-by-chapter review of Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art by Evelyn Payne Hatcher, I have arrived at Chapter Three: "How? The Technological Means." This chapter provides a survey of six traditionally indigenous visual art media: hide work, fiber work, carving, modeling, painting and metalwork.  In addition, Hatcher includes two other categories: mixed media and stagecraft.  Mixed media is simply the combining of multiple art media into one object, such as with ceremonial costumes.  Stagecraft implies the combination of visual art with performance, which may include (but isn't limited to) costumes, dancing, lighting, sound, music, etc.

Hatcher also provides some commentary on the definition of craft, then surveys the production techniques of the six media, and lastly, discusses the effects of societal complexity vis-a-vis artistic specialization.