I attended ‘’I am Art’’, an Art exhibition showcasing Christian Artists, on the 4th November 2016, and it inspired me to share my thoughts and my journey with Art.
I love Art; every single one of its expression and I enjoy the process of studying a work of Art arriving at a conclusion and realizing that the work of Art tells a beautiful story of reality.
I started journaling in my second year in Secondary school; my mum bought me a hard cover notebook in which I documented my life and thoughts. I kept my journal hidden safely tucked between my textbooks at the bottom of my desk. But nothing really stays hidden in secondary school and people started reading my thoughts and connecting with the words I wrote. So I shared with a few people and disappeared into my shell after any form of criticisms.
I made sense of the world on the pages of my journals so naturally that when I started a relationship with God I wrote about it. Now I had two journals; one for my thoughts about my budding relationship with God and the other for developing stories, poems and essays on life.
At the time, I was of the opinion that I could easily separate the two, lead two lives, one that was dedicated to my relationship to God and another that stayed true to my artistic freedom. I called it compartmentation
Two things are important in the life of every Christian;
- Making the decision to love God, accepting God’s love, and,
- To Grow in God’s Love; understanding that the new creature you have become on the day you accept God’s Love needs to be nurtured.
The second is not easy to learn, “understand and walk in”, because it involves leaving things you know and love. So we all rationalize growth in God’s love; we walk with one foot in the love of God and the other in the things of the world we are not willing to let go of. One can only walk like this for so long, gradually your feet will move in one direction.
I eventually learnt the second and began to walk in it and keep just one journal understanding that my Art expression is for the Lord’s use.
So back to ‘’I Am Art’’ the host asked the question, ‘’Do you think Mali Music is still a Christian?’’ This is a very controversial topic and one I have listened to a number of debates on.
I don’t enjoy having these type of conversations so I walked to the food stand and got myself a hotdog and a drink, found a seat at the back of the room and asked the audience the following questions in my head;
- Have you forgotten Christianity is an individual walk?
- Do you realize that we will be judged based on our action and how those actions affect others?
I believe when we find, understand and accept the answers to these questions, we will stop having these conversations.
At my seat at the back of the room, a guy got up to contribute to the conversation; ‘’I am an artist, I paint nude portraits, photographs and write song and I am a Christian and I believe I am going to heaven. We are allowed to express our art however we see fit once we have a rock solid relationship with God’’. He finished and went back to taking photos.
I proceeded to ask him the following questions in my head;
- Do the subjects you paint flash through your mind when you worship/pray?
- Are you not causing a fellow men to sin when they see your paintings
- Are you sure that you have never felt the leading not to paint nude subject again?
- Does your art express Christ?
When I finished my hotdog and drink, I said goodnight to my friends and left the exhibition.
I left the place thinking about a poem I wrote when I started my journey with God. It was inspired by a spoken word I listened to at the time on creativity and how God is the Master Artist, Creator carefully designing everything for a purpose.
We are Christians, which means everything we do should be Christ like and our art should express Christ.
The conversation we should be having is ‘’Does your art express Christ? Does it edify the body of Christ? Does it draw people to the body of Christ?’’
We find these answers when we walk and grow in God’s love. We need to stop feeding ourselves with the milk of the word; a person can only stay a babe for so long. We need to desire growth and accept the shedding of the flesh that comes with it.
I am first a Christian, every other expression of myself is expected to channel Christianity.
So I am Oreoluwa, I am a Christian, I am a writer, I am a sister, I am a friend, I am an Accountant, I am a wife, I am a mother and I am a daughter.