Art @ the GTU

From Skylight Magazine, Fall 2017

Art galleries on the GTU campus give students, faculty, staff, and guests the chance for a contemplative experience among the press of academia. Art can be both relaxing and stimulating. It offers the opportunity for both private meditation and for connection with community. A visit to the art gallery draws out our personal stories, as we experience the art in our own ways.

While many GTU member schools display artwork, changing exhibitions can be found at CARe’s Doug Adams Gallery, at the GTU Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, and at the Blackfriars Gallery at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology. In addition, the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion presents exhibitions about the ancient world. The ever-changing content and form of the exhibitions provides a wealth of choices for art experiences at the GTU.

Seeds of Contemplation: Works by Arturo Araujo

through December 8 (T, W, Th 10am–3pm or by appointment)

Center for the Arts & Religion, Doug Adams Gallery, 2465 LeConte Avenue

In his book Seeds of Contemplation, Catholic theologian Thomas Merton refers to spiritual sowing. The reader is the soil in which seeds are planted, and the reader’s spiritual life and relationship with God stands for the resulting harvest. In adopting Merton’s title for this exhibition, Arturo Araujo, SJ, encourages gallery visitors to be attentive to their own seeds of contemplation. The three installations that comprise the exhibition draw visitors’ attention in different ways. Walking the labyrinth (“Walk As If You Are Kissing the Earth With Your Feet”) fosters both contemplation and enjoyment; navigating the beautiful hanging banners (“Flying Seeds”), visitors are immersed in an inspiring environment; concentrating on the print mural (“Dancing in the Wind, Clapping Her Hands for the Birds”) reveals both continuity and layers of complexity. Each installation is accompanied by thoughtful interpretive labels by GTU faculty members, demonstrating that while Arturo approaches his art from a Jesuit perspective, his work is open to all.

Ecce Homo: Devotional Expressions of Hardship and Healing in the Americas (M–F, 9am–5pm)

Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Blackfriars Gallery, 2301 Vine Street

What is a human person? What is suffering? This exhibition explores those questions, theologically and artistically, through the presentation of Spanish Colonial and Mexican traditional and folk art. Based on the collection assembled by the late Michael Morris, OP, the exhibition centers on three sculptures: one depicting Jesus on a donkey, another of Jesus after being scourged, and a third depicting Mary as the Sorrowful Mother. Crafted by local artisans rather than professional artists, these three pieces present a window into the passion of Jesus and his Mother as seen and experienced by local people.

Fellow Travelers: A Photographic Memoir by Mark Thompson

through December 20 (during library hours)

GTU Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, second floor outside conference room, 2400 Ridge Road

In celebration of American Archives Month and Theological Libraries Month, PSR’s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) has joined with the GTU Library to present a group of arresting photographic portraits by Mark Thompson, from his book Gay Soul. Thompson was a prolific writer and an accomplished photographer who, along with his husband, Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd, focused on documenting and advocating on behalf of the gay community. Several years before his death, Thompson generously donated photographs and research files to CLGS; these materials are now curated by the GTU Archives.

Knowledge & Diversity: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Center for Islamic Studies

through January 19, 2018 (during library hours)

GTU Flora Lamson Hewlett Library Gallery, 2400 Ridge Road

Over the past ten years, students, faculty, and visiting scholars and artists have contributed to the mission of the Center for Islamic Studies. This exhibition recognizes and celebrates their role in shaping CIS. In addition to information on student theses, faculty research, and collaborative projects, this exhibition includes artwork by CIS associates with a focus on the art of calligraphy. For more information, see pages 4–7.

Hospitality in the Near East

Mondays, 10am–2pm

Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Avenue

The Badè Museum is home to collections from Tell en-Nasbeh, an Early Bronze Age/Iron Age (3100-586 BCE) archaeological site not far from Jerusalem. The current exhibition showcases artifacts from Tell en-Nasbeh that illustrate the theme of hospitality, including gift-giving, meal-sharing, and foot-washing. As Natalie Gleason, the Badè Museum’s Collections Manager, explains, “In today’s world, with so many displaced people seeking refuge, there are relevant lessons we can learn from these ancient cultures which valued hospitality so highly.”

Upcoming at the Doug Adams Gallery

Religion & Resistance – February 6 through May 25, 2018 (T, W, Th 10am–3pm or by appointment)

Center for the Arts & Religion, Doug Adams Gallery, 2465 LeConte Avenue

Religion and protest have always been intertwined; in many faith traditions, the promotion of social justice values is paramount. In this exhibition, archival posters and photographs attest to the use of religion in past protests, while new protest signs speak to the role of religious themes in confronting today’s struggles. Exhibition highlights will include photographs by Ken Light, posters from the collection of Lincoln Cushing, a giant puppet of Archbishop Oscar Romero from Bread & Puppet, and inspiring posters, banners, and T-shirts from current activists.

Religion is sometimes a divisive element in current politics; through this exhibition, we see the use of religion as a link to well-established—and possibly sacred—social values.

Sacred Garments around the World

After this summer’s exhibition at the Doug Adams Gallery, Sacred Garments: Orthodox Christian Vestments from Around the World, Dr. David Steward, one of CARe’s founding board members and professor emeritus at the Pacific School of Religion and the GTU responded by sharing a fascinating personal history, evoked by the photographs of the stunning garments, in the exhibition catalog.

Many of the vestments, which were generously lent to CARe by the Metropolitan Nikitas of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, were from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. The colors and motifs of the garments recalled family history for Dr. Steward, whose parents had been dedicated missionaries in China, dedicated to their work despite war and internment for his father. The family collected a few art objects, including some silk tapestries with embroidery reminiscent of the Metropolitan Nikitas’s garments.

For Dr. Steward, who now lives in Sitka, the vestments recalled the  regalia of the Tlingit people of Alaska. The Chilkat robe is woven from cedar bark and goat hair, and carries the totem signs of the important person who wears it. Some years ago, Dr. Steward and his wife Marge had the privilege of meeting the Jacksons: Nathan, the premier Tlingit carver, and  Dorica, a weaver. Dorica re-learned the traditional skills to create the first Chilkat robe in recent times. The Stewards became part of the movement to help Native women become teachers in SE Alaskan villages—often to instruct Native children in the Tlingit language and lore. As Dr. Steward explained, “Within the context of Tlingit culture, the Chilkat Robe is the closest thing they have to vestments. Like the vestments in your exhibition, the Chilkat Robe is intricate and beautiful, and announces the spiritual context for the community of the leader who wears it. I would label it a ‘sacred garment.’”

The “Sacred Garments” catalog is available as a gift for CARe members. For more information, contact