ArtWay Newsletter December 2012
On November 28 the Dutch book Jezus voor ogen (Eyes on Jesus) was published, with visual meditations and word and image Bible studies for Lent. For us this book is a milestone that marks what ArtWay has been given to accomplish in the past two years. The book will hopefully function as a springboard to a new and broader audience, so that the website and its resources will be used by even more people and churches. We hope that an English version will be published next year.
I am particularly grateful that the book turned out to be really beautiful, thanks to the good work of Buijten & Schipperheijn publishing house. I hope that the readers will enjoy many inspiring hours, quietly reading it while sitting in their favourite armchair or cosy spot on the couch. Reading a book makes for a different experience than peering at a computer screen. The meditative character of the texts comes out more in this way.
In Jezus voor ogen the focus is on Jesus. While working on the book it struck me that images of Jesus can start to function as ‘models’ to us. In the book I expressed this as follows:
‘Jesus hangs on the cross as the image of the ideal human being. This is how humans are meant to be: full of love, obedient to the Father, willing to serve and suffer, resisting temptations, putting others above oneself. If we are honest, this is not really our idea of an ultimate hero. For this very reason it is of such great importance to keep on feeding ourselves with this and other images of Jesus. For deep inside of us live all kinds of other ideal images that drive us and that we bow to time and again, because they are our idols. Our ideal picture of our successful self: the slim figure, the imposing house, the fat car, the ideal partner, the golden job, the huge happiness. Christian art can replace these with new ideal images that can help us to become people of unified character: people whose inside corresponds with their outside, whose deeds rhyme with their words – people for whom Jesus on the cross is a source of inspiration for who they want to become and be.’
Also in 2012 the number of subscribers to the visual meditations and of visitors to the website has been constantly on the rise. The website now has around 800 visitors per day. Remarkably China is high on the list. The USA is at the top in terms of visitors, but China is comfortably in second place, followed by the Netherlands in third position. Apparently much is going on in Christian China in the area of the visual arts, which for the time being is still a well kept secret for the rest of the world.
Another highlight in 2012 is the recent visit of my husband and myself to Brazil, where the organization l’Abrarte hosted a conference about the life and work of my father, Hans Rookmaaker, who was an art historian. For this occasion the biography about my father by Laurel Gasque (Art and the Christian Mind) was translated into Portuguese. Who would have thought that my father’s work would again be a source of inspiration at the other side of the world 35 years after his death?
With regard to our unavoidable expenses this letter is again accompanied with an appeal to support our work. We all work as volunteers and therefore with minimal expenses, but without your gift ArtWay would not be possible. Therefore a big word of thanks to all who supported us last year. Your gift can be remitted online. Just go to ‘Support us’ on the ArtWay homepage (on the left).
The ArtWay board and team wish you all a blessed Christmas and 2013.