Since a young age, I have delighted in experiencing and creating art. I came to know Jesus through a painting I did of Him at age 9. That is when I accepted Him as the Son of God and felt engulfed in His Redeeming love. Since that point, I have found art a form of expressing my personal faith and ideas. Art expresses concepts, emotions and experiences in ways that words cannot. It can also resonate with people in real and powerful ways. I was overjoyed when I learned that I could respond to reading assignments in my Intercultural Peacebuilding class with art. I took full advantage of this and learned that we all have the ability to build peace through visual art. I hope to find ways to do this moving forward in life. Here are a few paintings I used in my reading assignments this semester and a brief explanation of them.
I depicted the role of a bridge builder through this marker drawings. It’s the process of a third party that helps two people reconcile and understand one another. As shown, there is a dark veil over these people’s eyes. They are each looking in different directions. The center shows the role of the bridge builder beginning the process of helping them see one another for who they are. I chose these colors to show that the two people have totally opposite colors from one another on the color wheel, but they are complementary colors that look even more beautiful when shown together. Pretty paradoxical…
This painting is based off a photograph I took of my nephew Malan. Malan is a ball of energy and is absolutely exhausting. I can often become frustrated or irritated with his rambunctious personality. I related this to transforming ourselves from the victim to a change agent that uses positive action. I often play the victim in our relationship and wonder why he will never listen to me and is always getting himself in trouble. This painting helped me ponder on his curious nature and love of life. It shifted my mindset and helped me learn to take positive action and focus on seeing the world through his beautiful blue eyes.
This drawing represents the role mediation plays in conflict resolution. The main objective is to help each person understand one another and come up with a solution to the problem. This shows the enlightenment or illuminating understanding of looking at the view of the other person. It is symbolic of understanding and seeing things clearly.
I painted this picture of my friend who is going through a divorce and fled to Hawaii to escape her abusive husband. When she talks about her husband, I am amazed to see that she has no feelings of hatred or anger. She has empathy for him and recognizes what he has been through and the pain he is experiencing. She is a powerful example of true forgiveness and is living a full, happy life with her three children. She is thriving and that is because she has truly forgiven. We can just say it’s not finished because forgiving is not a single moment, but often a process that takes time.
This watercolor shows the challenges of self deception and cognitive dissonance. Its important to see yourself from many different angles and layers and be self aware. The moon eye represents how we sometimes see things the way we want to and make up a pretty story, but we are really just choosing to be blind to the sometimes ugly reality. The green and dark colors represents this ugly reality and the red clothes represents that we are often guilty of wrong doings. The eye in the background represents being mindful and seeing clearly. As we do this we can overcome the challenge of cognitive dissonance and self-deception.