MUTEBI

mutebi.jpgCalled to be an Artist and a Social Activist

Fred Mutebi (1967) is a Ugandan artist, who makes art to communicate about complex social and environmental issues. With his organization Let Art Talk he strives to achieve positive change in Uganda. About the society and the contributions of politicians, scientists and religious leaders he says:

“We have arrived at a moment in which we have to use our talents, wisdom, knowledge and experience in order to preserve ourselves and the planet we live on. It is time to respect each other and listen to each other regardless race, gender, profession or age. Our ancestors were raised with wise proverbs and sayings. Where are the wise people of the present modern society? Jesus spoke in proverbs and parables, scientists contribute to the solution of human problems, visual artists inform people in metaphorical ways. Art can help achieve peace and harmony among people.”

Fred Kato Mutebi is not only a master in the technique of the woodcut, he also connects with the viewer through the narratives in his work. To focus our attention on the stories about the struggles in his country and the world, Fred Mutebi chooses his characters and details with care. By way of these images and symbols we can identify with the reality and currents events in his country. Presently there are many orphans in his country due to the destruction of families and the HIV-Aids epidemic. Uganda is also afflicted by regional conflicts and the worldwide battle for natural resources.


Ensobi Yaani (Who is to Blame?)

The multi-colour woodcut-print Ensobi Yaani (Luganda for Who is to Blame?) deals with Fred Mutebi’s inner struggle in relation to his country and our world. He made it when the FIFA Worldcup was going on in South Africa. The players are entangled in battle and their arms, legs and torsos are chaotically entwined. This symbolizes the problems that pile themselves up in Africa. “How can we prevent Africa from being placed in the shadow of the monumental world problems?”, Mutebi wonders – problems connected to poverty, hunger, war, sickness and illiteracy, infant mortality and the ill health of mothers, but also to environmental destruction and sustainability.

On the ball a map of the African continent is depicted. The keeper, who just misses catching the ball, appears to be split in two as if he plays for both teams. The lively colours and patterns of the uniforms make clear that is it is not only about the people of Africa, but also about the environment, by referring to the wildlife of Uganda.


Series: Women Activists, Then and Now I

 In the series Women Activists Now and Then Fred Mutebi focuses on the many roles women play in Ugandan society, from the anonymous sellers of goods of the past to the activists of the present. He portrays their struggle to survive, but also their importance. Characteristic is the double use of the eyes, which he employs to show the mutual connectedness that is so typical for African women. Their facial expressions are content.

​Serie Women Activists, Then and Now II

In the second series of woodcuts the age and individuality of the women is lost. The changing intensity of the colours refers to the passage of time. The sealed lips, the broken necklaces and the small masks (below to the right) point to the oppression of women.

​Task Force Marabou

 “When these birds gather, it seems like they are busy with a meeting about real problems: where do we go to get our next meal. Comparable to the endless meetings of people rendering no results.”

In Mutebi’s work the marabou is a symbol for the politicians in Uganda. He calls them ‘the devourers who only think of themselves.” Mutebi uses the animals that are native to Uganda as symbols. Zebras with their powerful hearing and eyesight for instance are a metaphor for alertness. Butterflies symbolize renewal.

In Task Force Mutebi humanizes the garbage hunting marabou. This bird has an almost bold, dirty-pink head with a hanging crop. In the work we see the large bill and the gular sac, which functions as storage for food. Marabous like to live close to people and in the company of their kind. They eat animals alive and dead, for instance fish, grasshoppers, frogs and mice, but also crocodile eggs and bird chicks. Their bodies and heads are here so close to each other that they merge into an ominous mass. The marabous seem to be talking with each other, but they are really looking for the satisfaction of their own needs and not for a real meeting with each other. In this way Mutebi refers to the problems of his country.

​Crest Crane in Flight

Crest Crane in Flight reveals Mutebi’s warm heart for his country. This bird is the icon of Uganda and is depicted in the Ugandan flag. The artist stylizes the original form of the birds, so that they express what he wants them to tell. As an artist and teacher Mutebi deems it of great importance that art is used to inform people, especially the younger generation, about the problems in his country. This group of birds is united in flight: with their wings spread out and their heads down they are all heading in the same direction. The setting sun in the background emphasizes that they are headed for a peaceful future. Even though the problems in Uganda are complex and the hardships many, Fred Mutebi does not leave the viewer behind without hope.

Through the exaggeration of natural forms in his prints he is able to reveal their drama and beauty. Some of his subjects can be very disturbing – such as his rendition of figures revealing humanity’s fragility in the face of catastrophes, in particular those faced by Africans in recent years. However, the tenderness by which these topics are treated always leave room for hope. Mutebi exploits the narrative qualities of the graphic medium, telling stories about important social events that happen in Uganda as well as recording characteristic images of his environment, creating a sort of visual history of his surroundings. (taken over from http://www.inter-visions.com/FredMutebi.asp

 Using art as a tool to empower people to explore and talk about the challenges facing their communities, Fred set up Let Art Talk, an organization that helps open up the dialogue on issues such as poverty, child labour and gender by engaging the mainly young people he works with in interpreting the subjects through art. Fred is also aware of the need to involve the elders within the communities, getting them to share their wisdom and experiences, and together work towards affecting positive change. Committed to the success of the organisation fifty percent of the proceeds from a sale of Fred’s artwork goes into the Let Art Talk organisation to help set up a program, buy materials or fund a trip. https://fredmutebi.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/FredMutebi

Reblogged from ARTWAY  by Marianne Wilts

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PENTECOST: Arnulf Rainer

 

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 Arnulf Rainer: Pentecost, 1998, sheet of 29,4 x 24,8 cm.

 

 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. ” (Acts 2:1-4)

The gift of the Holy Spirit revealed itself to the apostles in the speaking in foreign languages. In his book entitled Bibelübermalungen or ‘Bible-overpaintings’ Arnulf Rainer in 160 pages gives expression to the events at Pentecost in a very different way. He does not paint over images taken from art history as he does elsewhere, but makes three completely new images – as if he wants to emphasize the Holy Spirit’s unique power. One of those examples is shown above.

The starting point of the image is at the top. There all lines and colours break forth with concentrated primal power and proceed to gush down onto the earth with a force like that of a hurricane. This super-terrestrial stream reminds me of the promise made by the prophet Joel that in the days that God will pour out his Spirit he will ‘display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smokeʼ (2:29-30).

For the prophet these signs are full of wonder as they mean liberation. On the one hand red refers to the blood of Christ by which he released us from our sins. On the other hand red and yellow point to the fiery force of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is warmth and light – light that will reveal the truth (Isaiah 32:15-17; John 16:13). He is the love of God poured out in our hearts (Romans 5:5), through which he fires and inspires us to good thoughts and deeds.

To the left and right this storm of flames is accompanied by softer colour tones, lending to this bow a somewhat peaceful character. It makes me think of the rainbow, which God set in the clouds as a sign of the covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:8-17). Did not with Pentecost start something totally new, similar to the time after the flood? God gave his Holy Spirit to all people! Not only to those standing in the main stream, also to those on the fringe, as this image makes me understand.

The painting arouses a longing in me to place myself in this Pentecostal stream of mercy and to let me fill anew with the God’s love, light, justice and peace – in order that I may become fully human, a human being after his image!

 by Patrik Scherrer 

Reblogged from www.artway.eu

 

“Glimpses of Light”

 

glimpses of light.jpgIrene Barberis’ 36m long tapestry of the Apocalypse is a major achievement, presently displayed for the first time at the Cathedral in Brussels. For over ten years the internationally established British/Australian artist has been preparing this monumental work of art. She insists it is not an illustration but an evocation of the Book of Revelation. Her aim is not to offer a visual narrative of the 22 chapters of the last book of the Bible. Her purpose is rather to invite the viewer to discover and interpret a series of images in the light of our contemporary culture.

Mixing artistic quotations from the Angers Apocalypse, Giotto, El Greco, Dürer and medieval Apocalypse manuscripts with contemporary imagery, Barberis conveys the perennial message of the text, which appears in full at the top of the tapestries. The title of her artwork indicates her conviction, shared with the author of the Book of Revelation, that after suffering and violence, the heavenly city will come down from heaven bringing peace and divine light. Indeed, far from being a chronological narrative evolving from the beginning to the end of times, this biblical text, written at the end of the first century in a period of persecution of the Johannine communities of Asia Minor, is about the end of the extant world of violence. It is about comforting and encouraging the early Christians in the light of the events of the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God, so as to keep their hope alight in adversity.

Barberis is not first and foremost interested in bringing a visual catalogue of dark apocalyptic events, however fascinating they may be and however attractive they have been to artists throughout the ages. They are of course present in the fourteen tapestries, as violence and evil are part and parcel of our world, but Barberis’ ambition is rather to offer glimpses of light in the midst of this suffering and to strengthen the hope that in the end God will conquer death.

Revelation is another central theme to her impressive work. Using technological innovations which have recently been introduced in weaving, Irene Barberis proposes to read her work under three different lightings. Under natural light, UV-light (use of fluorescent threads) and by night (use of phosphorescent threads), the tapestry offers different appearances, alluding to the process of revelation which gradually allows the reader to discover the riches of a text. This threefold approach highlights the symbolic and metaphorical literary style of the Book of Revelation and urges the viewer to reject a literally reading.

After the series of tapestries by Jan Bondol (1380), Barend Van Orley (1520) and Jean Lurçat (1956-1961), Irene Barberis offers to the 21st century its own Apocalypse tapestry. Its roots in the artistic tradition, its contemporary approach taking into account the exegetical expertise of today, the use of innovative technologies and of images specific to our time, as well as the fact that for the first time a woman artist has embarked on such extensive visual evocation of the Book of Revelation make the Tapestry of Light a milestone in the iconographic history of the Book of Revelation. Through her work of art, Irene Barberis invites the viewer to rediscover a profound text which was written to fuel the hope of mankind.

 

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Irene Barberis: Tapestry of Light, 2017, 14 tapestries of in total 36 m x 3,20 m, wool, cotton, fluorescent and fosforescent threads. Woven by Flanders Workshop, Wielsbeke-Waregem (B).

Reblogged from www.artway.eu

Remember me

 
 
Barbara de Reus Kamma: Remember Me, 1992, zeemleer en schroot, 140 x 75 cm.

“I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth, for the Lord will not reject for ever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” Lamentations 3 (NRSV)

 

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Until He comes
 
I have sought the darkness
I have been unwise
Since I was young I have hungered
for the sinful life
And when you called I ran from you
Down every easy road
My God have you forsaken me?
Is it too late for my soul?Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy love

I will wait on the Lord
Until He comes to make me whole
His promise is my hope
His promise is my hope

I have known affliction
Cried rivers from my eyes
I have longed for death to come
To still my worried mind

I will wait quietly for the one I seek
He will show compassion as He brings me grief

I will wait on the Lord
Until He comes to make me whole
His promise is my hope
His promise is my hope
On the CD Until He Comes, 2008, by Ordinary Time
 
Barbara de Reus Kamma (b. 1933) grew up in New Guinea. During her childhood war broke out and years in concentration camps followed. She has lived in the Netherlands since1946. Her past may be the key to her work. She prefers to use weather-beaten, discarded, used and worn materials.
“The materials need to have gone through something. By including them in artworks I give them a second life, a form of survival. Human beings have a central place in most of my work: alone or together, in joy or sorrow, strong or powerless… and how one survives.”
Her later work, since 1995, is filled with stillness and space. www.barbaradereus.nl

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Pic by James Janknegt

 Displaying James Janknegt De rijke man en Lazarus.jpg

 

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’  (Luke 16:19-31)

 

Wealth can make a person believe they are self-sufficient. That is its real danger. Obviously wealth can buy stuff: sumptuous food, fine jewelry or clothes, fancy cars and houses. It can even provide a simulacrum of friendship or even a mate (everybody has a price, right?) Enough wealth can make a person powerful in business and politics. With enough wealth and power, one can seem totally independent and invulnerable. But wealth cannot cheat death.

And after death comes judgment. How did you use all the riches, position, and power? Merely for yourself or for the good of others?

But self-sufficiency is not just a danger of the rich. I have lived hand to mouth all my life and am fiercely independent. I do not like asking others for help. My natural inclination is to not trust people and, if at all possible, do it myself. But I realized at one point in my life that if I ever wanted to be able to love others, I would have to acknowledge my lack of love, my total insufficiency and allow Love to enter my life.

I let the God who is Love make me a part of himself. I was, in fact, convinced by the man, Jesus, who gave his life out of love for me, who was crucified, died, was buried, and on the third day rose from the dead.

 

Reblogged from Artway.eu

 

Love – Milov

‘Love,’ by Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Milov, features two wire-frame adults sitting back to back with their inner children reaching out to each other from within. At night, the inner children lit up as well.

You’re free to come to your own conclusions about the piece’s meaning (and share them with us in the comments), but here’s what Milov wrote about the piece on the festival’s website: “It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children chart to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”aleksandr-milov.jpg

Floating cross

floating cross.jpg

A cross, carried  like a coffin by a crowd of balloons, poised like pallbearers.

Many people connect their hopes with the cross. Even though we are continually experiencing the sting of sin and disease in our weak and ephemeral body, we feel within us a power to rise up against all that is destructive.

In many cases, we are alone too weak – then it is good to experience relief from others. The balloons are for me a beautiful expression of such facilitating assistance. They show a lot of things.

The many balloons can say that it takes many “caresses”, attentions and amiabilities to “erect” for some reason, for whatever reason, to provide him with relief. Together, inspired by God’s spirit and carried as a whole co-ordinated by God and man, the many individual prayers, good thoughts and deeds have this exalted power.

Through the balloons, something else is clearly felt. Anyone who wants to permanently stand together, wants to help someone, is always dependent on new energy, energy sources, because like the balloon, the load bearing capacity drops and the air “goes out”.Not only that. As good intentions often dissolve in air, a small material defect, a pinstitch can also cause a balloon to burst.

Where many people are guided in their visions and thoughts by the Spirit of God and put them into action in action, the cross of many sufferings will become easier and they will have the effects of the resurrection of Christ experienced.

(Google tranlsated from German 🙂

First published by Patrik Scherrer on April 24, 2004 at  www.bildimpuls.de

Art-Action in the Protestant Church Lachen (CH) on 4 April 2004
Dimensions: length of the cross: 1,7m, cross-section of the beams: 20x20cm,
material: styrofoam painted, 92 helium-filled transparent balloons
© Photo and copyright:  Hans Thomann

New Year’s Eve: The Peace Window

Sarrebourg 1

Marc Chagall: Peace Window  

The Peace Window is the largest stained-glass window made by Chagall. It is 12 x 7.5 m and covers the whole west facade of the Chapel of the Cordeliers in Sarrebourg, a small town in the Vosges Mountains in France. Most striking about this window is that three times Chagall depicts Christ in it. Does Jesus play a central role in peace according to Chagall?

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Entering the chapel the visitor is overwhelmed by a spectacle of vivid colours that fill the whole space with their glow. A bright blue is the main colour, the blue of the sky, of heaven. The heart, the centre of the window, resembles a colourful bouquet of flowers: green, orange and red. Perhaps it portrays the tree of life that we know from paradise. The bouquet can also refer to the stump of Jesse out of which grows the Messianic realm of peace: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding.”  (Isaiah 11:1,2)

In the middle of the bouquet a man and a woman form an intimite unity bound by love – man and woman created in God’s image. “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” ( Genesis 1:27)

How is it possible that Chagall places man and woman, Adam and Eve, at the heart of the tree of life? Weren’t they sent away from paradise to prevent them from eating of the fruit of the tree of life? Chagall portrayed the scene of the the Expulsion from Paradise in the windows of the Cathedral of Metz, about 100 kilometres north-west of Sarrebourg. But here, in Sarrebourg, the couple forms the heart of the tree of life. What is Chagall saying? Apparently there is a possiblility that humans eat from this tree. In the Book of Revelation we read: “To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)

       wolf en lam     

To the right of the tree of life the vision of the prophet Isaiah has been rendered. We see the wolf together with the lamb, the calf with the lion and a little child who leads them (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Sarrebourg Jezus aan kruis

In the window Jesus is depicted not just one but three times. At the top left we see him hanging on the cross. Around his loins he has a Jewish prayer mantle. The people around the cross are happy. Jesus’ face is peaceful, almost smiling. At his feet we see Abraham with three angels: it is Abraham praying for the deliverance of Sodom. Does Jesus’ death play a role in the deliverance of the world?

 

Next to Jesus we see a ladder, referring to Jacob’s ladder: “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16-17 )

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Above the tree of life Jesus is depicted as a preacher – it is Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount, in which he says:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Sarrebourg Intree in Jeruzalem

 

At the bottom left we see Jesus as Prince of Peace entering Jerusalem on a donkey, making a reference to Matthew 21:5:   “Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey.”

Three times Jesus is depicted in this window of peace. Jesus speaking about peace, Jesus dying on the cross to bring peace to the world, and Jesus as the Prince of Peaceentering Jerusalem.

In his paintings Chagall often portrays the crucified Jesus. It is often said that Chagall (always) depicts Jesus as the suffering Jew. But in his windows Chagall undeniably places other accents on the person of Jesus. In this window in Sarrebourg Chagall sheds light on more dimensions of Jesus. Even in the crucifixion we see more than a suffering Jew, we see a peaceful Jesus in the context of the prayer of Abraham for the salvation of Sodom.

Everyone who carefully studies the windows of Chagall, in Sarrebourg as well as Metz and Zürich (Jesus as the Risen Lord in the central green window), sees that Chagall renders Jesus not just as the suffering Jew. He also portrays him as the Prince of Peace and as the one who (just like Abraham) prays for his people – “Father, forgive them” – and as the one who by his death brings about reconciliation, opening the possiblity of peace with God. And peace with God is the deepest peace of all.

Article by Hélène Evers Reblogged from www.artway.eu

 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience

Nam June Paik, TV Buddha

The history of modern art has generally been understood as a grand leap away from tradition, religion, and conventional norms, yielding decidedly secular art. Yet a majority of the prominent modern artists in every period had strong interests in the spiritual dimension of life, which they expressed in the new art forms they created. The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art draws on direct statements by scores of leading artists – cited from little known historical documentation as well as contemporary interviews – to demonstrate that spirituality, far from being inconsequential in the terrain of modern art, is generative. This comprehensive overview presents, for the first time, a chronological survey of the major art movements that weaves together spiritual profiles of numerous leading artists and situates their stories within the cultural context of each period. The result is a significantly expanded understanding of the cultural history of modern art.

http://www.charlenespretnak.com/the_spiritual_dynamic_in_modern_art__art_history_reconsidered__1800_to_the_prese_123934.htm

 

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Nam June Paik. TV Buddha, 1989; closed-circuit video installation, bronze; 23 3/4 x 27 1/2 x 98 1/2 in. (60.3 x 69.9 x 250.2 cm); Partial gift of Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the New Art Trust to benefit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate, United Kingdom; © Estate of Nam June Paik