Toronto Catholic artist Chris Fung will have his first show at the Artscape Triangle Gallery. It opens Aug. 16 and runs through Aug. 28.

Many of Catholic artist’s works draw inspiration from the Bible

By 
  • August 10, 2011

TORONTO - Chris Fung was born and raised Catholic, but it was through art that he discovered his faith.

That art is about to take centre stage at Fung’s upcoming show, Our Best Is Now: How. The exhibit, which runs from Aug. 16-28, will feature more than 100 pieces from Catholic artist Fung, his sister Janine and cousin Nigel.

Catholic and artist weren’t always titles Fung held or coveted, though. At one point, he didn’t plan on being either.

In his teens, Fung broke away from his faith as “the grass was greener anywhere else.” But when a friend committed suicide, Fung began his journey back to his Catholic roots, whether he knew it or not. To pass the time, he began drawing, though he had no experience with art outside high school art classes. Over time, it became more and more important to him, and the faith seemed to find its way into his art. Now, 12 years later, for the first time his work will be on display at a downtown Toronto art gallery.

“It’s hard to say if I never wanted to have one, or if I was scared of having one,” said Fung about how his art show came about.

With two close family members already in the art world — cousin Nigel is a Suriname-based artist and sister Janine is a Trinidad and Toronto-based filmmaker whose work has been screened internationally — an exhibit seemed like a natural progression for Fung.

Fung describes his own art as “thrifty and frugal,” like a child trying to get all the ink he can out of a drying marker. Many of his pieces draw inspiration from images in Bible passages.

“I imagine how a child might pick up those separate images, not knowing about too much else,” said Fung, adding that he doesn’t like to think about or plan his pieces too much, but rather let them take a natural and random course.

“One of the beautiful things about the Catholic faith is the mystery,” he said. “It’s like a prayer.” Nigel, whose work Fung describes as “beautiful yet disturbing,” will have about 50 pieces on display at the exhibition, while Janine will have 10 paintings as well as a premiere of her new film, The Moments In Between: From the Back of a Truck, Bus, Boat and Road.

Fung shares his sister’s passion for film, and will also be premiering his own movie, Babylon Baby. Fung calls the film, which features all original music, a “love letter to Japan.”

“My hope is they’ll be really inspiring for people,” said Fung. “I think it’s pretty fresh and pretty raw and wild and pretty alive.”

The exhibit is free and opens Aug. 16 at Artscape Triangle Gallery near Queen Street and Dufferin Avenue.

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