Art student priests argue for freedom of expression

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kochi, February 28, 2017: Among the 33 graduating scholars who displayed their works at a show titled ‘Labyrinth’ at RLV College of Music and Fine Arts were two Franciscans, Jamesmon PC and Joseph Joyson.

After the recent controversy where the Catholic Church in Kerala took offence at a painting that appeared in a Malayalam literary magazine, the presence of two art student priests drew great interest.

The chaplain of Athbhutha Mata (Our Lady of Miracles) Church at Thoppumpady, Fr. Jamesmon relies on the sheer depth of art in enriching his ministry.

“You should be able to see art as part of ‘lived’ life. It’s not something separate from spirituality. And if you see art in this perspective, you wouldn’t see art in a narrow-minded fashion, as you have regarding that controversial work of Tom Vattakkuzhy,” says Fr. Jamesmon.

But wasn’t it the Catholic Church that took umbrage at Vattakkuzhy’s The Last Supper, you ask him. “Unfortunately, yes. There have been mistakes in seeing art as art.”

Fr. Jamesmon paints labyrinths, Colosseum-like structures, which he thinks have a connect with nature. “The laterite bricks, their texture, I like it. I’m also fond of the Graeco-Roman architecture, especially the doors that open to a spiritual realm. It’s the connect of man-made structures with nature that I seek to explore. As for art, anyway, it deals with human lives. Once you are ordained as a priest, you deal with human beings, trying to help them better their lot through spirituality. Hence the connection,” says Fr. Jamesmon, who also wishes to pursue a masters in fine arts.

Fr. Joyson had his series titled Surge at the show. “It’s about light, the source of energy that lies deep within us all. And the series is an exploration of that fount of energy,” he says, insisting that spirituality is not something unrelated to mundane daily life.

“While we all work within our limitations, we see the reflection of our self in what we do and constantly search for the light that brightens it,” he says.

Fr. Joyson had begun drawing at a very young age, and like Fr. Jamesmon, had done missionary work in various parts of India and Europe.

He likes to conduct intense studies on the ‘sacred arts’ of art conservation, iconography, and stained glass painting, besides art therapy.

Labyrinth, which closed at the college the other day, had painting, sculpture, and applied arts students putting up their works as part of their academic requirement-cum-exhibition.

– hindu

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