Goals of IAM
speaking at a recent C.S. Lewis Celebration (www.cslewis.org)
in Oxford, stated, "the Incarnation is the greatest translation
ever, and poetry is a little incarnation." International Arts Movement
aims to celebrate both the "translation" of the incarnation (the
gospel) and the "little incarnation" of poetry and the arts.
Just as Christ
entered our world, translating heavenly existence to the earthly,
the arts enter one human heart from another, sharing the experiential
reality. IAM intends to help this translation process, and we believe
that by learning from the living God, the author of translation,
we may do the task more faithfully. When our faith in Christ is
combined with our creation, we believe, the act forges a richer,
and more diverse form of communication. Artists, throughout the
centuries, have sought the transcendent to be tapped into by their
creation. The language of the arts, it can be argued, is a language
borne by faith.
In other words,
all art forms attempt to translate what is unseen into what is seen.
Speaking on the issue of content at the IAM conference, painter
Joel Sheesley stated, "I...suggest that the definition of content
in art is very much like that New Testament definition of faith,
which calls faith, 'the substance of things hoped for.'" Art, especially
as we engage with a redeemed vision, becomes an activity of faith,
translating the "substance of things hoped for" with words, paint
and other materials into both the content and form of art. Diversity
is, then, created not out of deconstruction, or fragmentation, but
out of unity. Faith prompts us to create with a renewed language,
uniting, even, the splintered language of the age and thus redeeming
the language of communication itself.
It is our desire
that not just the artists, but the whole church be involved in this
translation act. We have responded to the 9/11 catastrophe with
TriBeCa Temporary space near ground zero, to create an "oasis of
collaboration with local artists." That single day brought on such
an urgency in our need for a language of art based upon redemption
and healing (see "Fallen Towers and the Art of Tea" under Essays, www.makotofujimura.com).
On November, 2002 in New York City, we hosted a conference run
by IMAGE journal (www.imagejournal.org)
called "The Return of Beauty." Our most recent 15th anniversary conference "Artists as Reconcilers" drew over 300 people at the historic Cooper Union Great Hall, with key note speeches by Dana Gioia, Dr. Miroslav Volf and others. We will now be sponsoring and annual conference to both encourage the artists among us and to help
all in the church understand the cultural milieu around us. As Ray
Bakke wrote recently, "The frontier of the world mission is no longer
geographically distant; it's culturally distant but geographically
right next door." This "distance" of culture exists not only in
ethnic cultures but also in created new cultures in this city. The
gap that exists between the culture at large and the church must
be bridged by the gospel of incarnation, the "greatest translation."
It is our prayer
that IAM serve the churches of New York City by cultivating this
vision of cultural renewal a vision for both renewal of our hearts
and culture. Come join us in celebrating and reaching out to the
culture at large, to seek the "shalom of the city"!
IAM founder and director.