Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Mandala of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Telling the Story of Jesus in Asia, is about the way we understand the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. In the following images which I have been putting onto my blog in chronological order, I have presented a series of pictures depicting the "Kristha Katha" that I worked on in 1983 as a long frieze for the refectory of the Holy Cross Brothers in a village near to the temple town of Udipi, on the coast of Karnataka. These images which were first done on Khadi cloth, as Batik designs, and then pasted onto boards, and finally touched up with acrylic and oil paint, are still to be seen in the Holy Cross home for students at Katpadi, Karnataka. The height of the panels is a metre, and the whole frieze covers a distance of about seventy metres running along the wall just below the ceiling.
At the end of this blog can be found an explanation of the project, and how I have related incidents from the life of Christ to a series of Mandala designs. This project is of relevance now as we think of the process of telling the story of Jesus in Asia, as a model for what was formerly understood as "inculturation.".
The process that was called "inculturation" assumed that culture was like an external form, or clothing, in which to dress the essential gospel narrative. But this view of culture is flawed. Culture is more like a series of windows, through which we can look out on reality, and in the process understand the story of Jesus from an asian perspective. This is what I have attempted to do in the following series of images, which unfortunately have been put onto my blog in such a way that the end comes first. Those who are interested in the process can perhaps go back to the beginning where I present the concept of story telling as a Sadhana, and then can work forwards from there. I would be interested, however, to hear from others what they think of this approach to telling the gospel narrative in a way that is rather like a rosary, where different mysteries of the gospel can be meditated on. In fact, after I had completed these images in the early eighties, they were printed by the German publisher Pfeiffer (1984) under the title "Wenn Gott das Lied der Erlosung spielt"--15 Bildmeditationen zum Rosenkranz. The meditations for this publication were written by Fr. Josef Ubelmesser sj. These were a series of pictures that I painted on canvas, and which are with the missions Prokura sj in Nurenberg. The images there are somewhat different from the ones which I give here, but there is a link between the two series.