A big part of the CIVA conference, entitled JUSTart, for me, was lying in a gulley, in the rain of a thousand different ways of recognizing injustice and responding to it, and not drowning.
After spending the day drawing from life, then attending the juried CIVA show opening, we crowded into the exhibit of “Qu4rtets” with paintings by Bruce Herman and Makoto Fujimura. I intend to spend time with the T.S. Eliot poems, the Jeremy Begbie score, and the paintings online because some of the meaning and impact was lost on me in the crowd. The eight paintings were overwhelming, both in size and in intensity.
I started getting a foothold on the conference theme in the evening, with the welcome and then the introduction to “Hope in the Just and Beautiful Kingdom”. Rajkumar Boaz Johnson’s delivery was itself poetic, as he talked about poets, dancers, and artists rising from the slums of India, just like himself. He spoke of human oppression in India and its history, coming from the Aryan invasion in 1500 BC. He told stories of low-caste people making art and working toward justice against slavery and oppression. He even spoke of high-caste persons traversing the chasm that is the caste system, in order to live with the lowly and live a life of justice among them.
His parents must have known what they were doing when they named him ‘Prince’, because he rose from the garbage to teach in North Park University and speak out against human trafficking.
A panel of speakers, Tim Lowly, Erica Grimm Vance, and Leah Samuelson added to the rivulets of story relating to art calling out injustice and offering alternatives. ( The creek in my gulley started to swell.)
The Late Show is a conference tradition in which any artist can submit her images for power-point viewing and have 3 minutes in which to talk about them. Twenty artists presented their work on Thursday night and lifted up our Creator and the Origin of art.
In my next post, I shall introduce a question or two, about art and justice, to see what you think.