Bible inspiration for Chinese art exhibit

By  Luc Rinaldi, The Catholic Register
  • August 12, 2010
kk_acceptanceTORONTO - Katherina Kwan and Yvonne Cheng are not professional artists, they say, they are just ordinary people who want to explore their faith through art.

“The Eternal Wisdom — Tao,” an art exhibition running Aug. 21-26, is Kwan and Cheng’s chance to let others share in this exploration. The six-day event, held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, will showcase their Catholic Chinese art and calligraphy.

“What inspires me in the Bible, I show it through painting,” said Cheng. “I just want to show how I experience my faith, and thank God for the chance to show the truth of how He loves us.”

The exhibit is a collection of biblical passages and illustrations. Cheng portrays whatever inspires her through paintings, which is accompanied by connected psalms or readings. Kwan uses traditional Chinese characters to express different passages of the Bible such as the Beatitudes, prayers and hymns.

The exhibition began as an idea of Kwan’s in 2007. Under the guidance of her calligraphy teacher, Chau Pak Leung, she learned to integrate her Catholic faith into her artwork and was encouraged to share it with others. Cheng later found herself invited to become part of the exhibition, as she is also Catholic and a pupil of Leung.

“To me, it’s very special,” said Cheng. “It’s God’s idea, maybe.”

The exhibition’s name comes from ancient Chinese philosophy, which recognized an unexplainable and indescribable power which they called “Tao.” As Catholics, Kwan and Cheng see this power as God, and through their art hope to bridge the gap between ancient Chinese teaching and Western theology.

Together with a group of volunteers, Kwan and Cheng will offer commentary and explanation of their artwork for those who attend the exhibition. Though the artwork is Catholic and Chinese, the artists invite and welcome people of different cultures and faiths to explore it. With translation and interpretation, they believe that the art can be appreciated by all.

“We are not really better or holier people, we are not teachers, we just want to share,” said Kwan. “I hope people will think about their faith and their relationship with God.”

The free exhibit opens at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Chinese Cultural Centre at 5183 Sheppard Ave. E. The exhibition is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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