Saturday, December 20, 2008

‘Taming the Land’, 2006

Esther Griffiths, 'Can You Hear Him?', 2006
Acrylic and modelling compound on canvas, 60 x 17.5 cm
Artist's Collection

Through this series of works, I investigate my personal response to how Christianity is viewed in New Zealand. I have used the familiar New Zealand imagery of a small wooden country church surrounded by vast expanses of empty landscape to explore and contrast the relationship between the physical, metaphysical and the spiritual nature of Christianity.

Esther Griffiths, 'Nestled Church', 2006
Charcoal on paper, 24.7 x 15.5 cm
Artist's Collection

This series is predominantly a lament, with a dark and somber feel to many of the works. These works cower in shame over horrific deeds done in our country in the name of God – both historically and currently. They grieve over the many misunderstandings and accusations surrounding God, His purposes, and His people.

Esther Griffiths, 'Eternal', 2006
Acrylic on paper, 14.4 x 38.3 cm
Artist's Collection

But the works are not all gloom and despair. They also carry a message of hope. This hope is symbolized by the cross, which in the natural world represents a tortuous death, but in the spiritual realm, the giving of life to those who will receive it.
God has promised that His church will survive, and it has and will.

The prophet Isaiah said that “a bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench.” Jesus told Peter “’on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’” We may be weak, but He is strong, and He will continue to keep His church.

Esther Griffiths, 'Things Unseen', 2006
Acrylic and modelling compound on paper, 30 x 21.2 cm
For Sale, unframed: NZ$80

Paul, in a letter to Corinthian believers, said, “Therefore we do not lose heart… For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” As followers of Christ, “we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Esther Griffiths, 'What is Unseen is Eternal', 2006
Acrylic and modelling compound on paper, 29.7 x 30.1 cm
For Sale, unframed: NZ$80

I have enjoyed exploring this concept of looking at “things unseen” in this series of works. While we may despair when we look at the physical world around us, we can take comfort in knowing that God is in ultimate control over it all, and that He has purposes far beyond our limited understanding. Praise God- we can trust in Him totally and completely!

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