Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dalit and Adivasi communities.

Marginalized communities in Asia, such as Dalits, or oppressed people in India, or Tribal groups, having a distinctive culture of their own, have often chosen to become Christian. This new Faith has offered the opportunity to primal peoples, often ignored or exploited by the great civilizations that have emerged in Asia, to re-define their cultural identity. In this way the Christian art of Asia has stressed the need to discover the roots of culture in ancient folk cultures. The figure of Christ appears as a re-affirmation of that Primordial Person, embodying the essence of what it is to be human. Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am”. This figure of the ‘aboriginal’ humanity that goes beyond civilizations, affirming the link between culture and nature, has given rise to an eco-theology that also returns to a cosmic vision. Jesus is the New Adam, who embodies the Divine Presence in the whole of Creation.
Christian art in Asia has been part of an effort to understand both the diversity of cultural and religious traditions of Asia, and also the need to liberate humanity from the burden of poverty and disease. The future of this art lies in its message of freedom, but also respect for the Other.

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