Beauty Given by Grace: by Sadao Wantanabe

Meagan De Graaf- Staff Writer

Dordt College takes pride in its Christian diversity; there are many ways on campus to experience other cultures and share our common faith.

Dordt students attend a college where so many things reflect our worldwide faith, even the exhibits arranged by the art department. From now until Oct. 16, the works of Sadao Watanabe, a Japanese Christian artist, will be on display in the Campus Center gallery.

Watanabe converted to Christianity at age 17, then used art as a way to express his faith. Watanabe struggles to maintain a balance between expressing his current faith and honoring his Japanese heritage.

Professor David Versluis of the Dordt College art department said, “A key aspect for viewers… is to see this show as the work of a professional artist who took his Christian faith seriously.” All believers are called to take their faith seriously, so it is important that we see examples of how this can be done.

“I would like to be able to heed the voice of heaven,” said Watanabe of his Biblical designs, which have been featured in museums as prestigious as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Vatican Museum.

In a brilliant combination of the two most important cultures in his life. Watanabe found a way to portray Biblical events through traditional Japanese artistic media. He uses a Japanese art form called katazome, which involves hand-cutting and dying stencils. These stencils are then arranged on paper, which is often handmade, to create a picture. In this case, each picture depicts a Bible story.IMG_8761

Each work of art in the exhibit features a Bible verse and an explanation for the piece, which brings a new perspective to the verses Christians read so often.

The exhibit features a guestbook where anyone who visits can leave a remark about how they have been affected by the art there. Some of the comments included words like “amazing” and “beautiful” to describe the artwork they had seen.Those who have attended the exhibit were clearly affected by Watanabe’s unique artistic testimony and felt called to react to it.

For even more information on this cultural experience, the department of art and design will host a reception on Sept. 17. There is a program at 7:00, but the reception runs from 6:45-8:00 that night, and the art department would love to see interested students join them to learn more about this exciting cultural artwork.

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