Haley Mulder-Staff Writer
Lyrics from the African-American culture are beautifully scripted with bright, vivid golds and written in hand-crafted script in the current Dordt College Art Exhibit, entitled Bound for Glory, created by Timothy Botts.
“I find it amazing that the African-American people, many who were enslaved by Christians, saw beyond their owner’s hypocrisy,” artist Timothy Botts wrote in his artist statement. “They met the real Jesus.”
As a graphic designer, art director and calligrapher, Bott’s work is known throughout the world.
“I knew I wanted an exhibit that reflected the advent season,” art professor and exhibit organizer David Versluis said. “That’s when I called Timothy Botts.”
Botts, recently retired from Tyndale publishing after 40 years, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in graphic design. His specialty is calligraphy.
In the exhibit, open until Jan. 8, Botts depicts the African-American spiritual culture through script, colors and Christian messages.
“They express justice,” Versluis said. “Along with many aspects that are appropriate for the advent season.”
Botts has a strong personal approach to the African American culture.
“I sang nearly half of the spirituals included in this exhibit when I was growing up in my church,” Botts said. “I pray that the visual interpretation of this spirit-filled music will be instruments of healing and reconciliation among us.”
Botts collected some Victorian moldings from his son, a carpenter in Saint Louis. These moldings have become the frames for the artwork in the exhibit.
“It gives it a rustic feel,” Versluis said. “They become amplifiers for the work, a projection.”
Of his hand-crafted pieces in the gallery, most are created with a water-color medium using pens or brushes. Botts created the backgrounds of the pieces using acrylic paint.
“He’s using a traditional medium that goes all the way back to the scribes and medieval writers,” Versluis said. “He’s a part of that continuum.”
The pieces in the exhibit are collaborated in a book, Bound For Glory. The book includes commentary also written by Botts.
Bott’s says that he is “celebrating the gift of music” through this historical collection.
Although he says that it has been the most difficult collection of art work that he has ever created, Botts hopes it conveys the wonderful music of the culture and a feeling of joy.
The exhibit is dedicated to his African-American grandchildren: The ones who he says are “helping me become color blind.”