Speaking Shalom with Creation
by C. Robin Janning
The members of The Artists Registry @ ECVA have become a breathing, blooming, and burgeoning community. These artists come to us not from a single narrow pool, but rather from the widest oceans with nets dripping potential and possibility.
Right now in our community we have emerging artists and long-time professionals. We have traditional artists, contemporary artists, photographers, sculptors, quirky assemblage artists, and more. They all work here quite companionably and allow themselves to be intersecting lights of art in an organic whole-life that moves on widely diverging paths of faith.
I can believe, when I see this, that art is a model for ways in which we can communicate the light that resides in each of us. And when light calls to light …well, that is the antidote to fear.
Art is much more than “hey, look at my light.” I think it must be more like “wow, look there is light and it is everywhere.” Being a member of The Artists Registry @ ECVA means more than being in an exhibit that might encourage the purchase of art. ECVA artists, by standing in this community, support the importance of doing the work of excavating, shaping, and showing light. They are a joined in the communal vocation of bringing light.
Lama Surya Das, in his book Awakening to the Sacred, states that “Almost inevitably a spiritual search becomes a search for divine or sacred light.” Our own Presiding Bishop speaking about Ubuntu, wondered if we would “in the coming days” be “speaking shalom to creation.” I wonder if, as artists, we might just be “speaking shalom with creation.”
C. Robin Janning is a leader at the contemporary intersections of faith and the visual arts. As a painter, Janning’s abstract works explore the meeting places of the seen and the unseen. As an arts administrator and writer, Janning focuses on expanding the role of art in the life of community. She is Editor in Chief of Image and Spirit, Registrar of The Artists Registry @ ECVA and Editor of The Art Blog at Episcopal Cafe. Janning’s paintings may be viewed online at Gramercy Galleria and Oranges and Sardines.
On View: Theotokos. Icon, tempera on panel, ~ 22cm h x 15 cm w. 20th c. Written by Igumen Ioana Zhiltsov, a hieromonk in residence at The Holy Dormition Pskov Caves Monastery, Russia. Private collection. The Pskov Caves have sheltered monastics and hermits for more than five centuries. Igumen Ioana Zhiltsov, with Ken Kaisch, brought Turning the Heart to God by Saint Theolphan the Recluse into the English language. From the classic Russian book, The Path to Salvation, Turning the Heart to God is arguably the most profound work on repentance in all of Christendom. Available from Conciliar Press, here.