an art buffet in latin america

It had been a long trip. Two overnight flights, including one in United's impossible economy class. I did arrive, finally, at Bogota's flash airport at 5am, to be greeted by my friend and colleague, Jorge. It was a quick trip to his home - and a bed - only to be greeted by this confronting chap propped up on the desk.

This emaciated preacher, imprisoned in a cruciform lectern, with over-sized bare feet dangling below, almost had me searching for a night-light so as to keep the nightmares away. 

Who is he? It is a sculpture called Speak by the Canadian artist, David Robinson. The original hangs in Regent College (Vancouver), where Jorge and Gail met all those years ago.

The official description from Regent goes like this: 'The preacher hangs inside the pulpit - a thin, vulnerable human, whose life is given to preaching God's word. This piece is a call to humility for all of us, as we go about serving God in our varied vocations.'

A piece on the artist soon after the creation of Speak is here

Regent faculty member, Maxine Hancock, engages with it here.

A three-dimensional image can be seen on the artist's website here.

Our conversation about art and preaching moved into a more cheerful space from this point, particularly when they shared about their visit to Cuenca (Ecuador) the previous week. Jorge's brother had been the parish priest at this Catholic church in BaƱos for many years. Take a look at its pulpit...


This is an equally true representation of the preacher, with the risen Jesus behind and the hovering Spirit above, reminding us that the earlier image of vulnerability and humility is the very one that is to be empowered by Christ and His Spirit. What a calling! This can happen in any vocation as we commit to a journey - a journey captured by an image in Jorge's study. Playing on the evolution idea of the ape morphing into the human, it is called (in Spanish) 'involution'. It speaks of the long journey of submission to the Christ of the cross.


Then it was on to Cochabamba (Bolivia) where we stayed with other Cochabambinos, as they call themselves, in a Catholic catechetical centre known as Cadeca. Well, Cadeca has a chapel. Goodness deary me. It was beautiful, drawing me back three times during our two day stay...


The story of Jesus - and a number of scenes from the Old Testament as well - covered the walls.


There were scenes also from the Bolivian church story - as well as the story of Latin America...


The way the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to accommodate itself into every culture and every language - and the way in which it is the hope of every people - is one of the reasons why I am a Christian. No other world religion comes close to this kind of commitment...

nice chatting

Paul

Comments

Fred Brunell said…
I hugely appreciated this Paul... particularly the first sculpture.
Paul said…
Actually - you came to mind a bit on this trip, Fred!
Fred Brunell said…
Cheers :-) I've just finished a series of five sermons "Artists Reflect on God's Big Story". Unpacking art as commentary on the text (rather than illustrative). Anyhow, kinda worked...