Friday, September 16, 2011

Poetry After Auschwitz

As I was writing up a report of my time in Hungary, I found that there is poetry after Auschwitz and 9/11. Or maybe more properly, I remembered. In the face of overwhelming evil, I forgot the hope. Ever been there?

But a story kept revolving around my head, and once again, God connected the dots. It remains one of the stories I find myself telling over and over again, shaking my head. I'm mostly telling other artists, who understand the technical aspects of this challenge, but anyone would get it to some degree.

It is one of those amazing, understated ways God works, off-the-radar. I guess that's why I like it--never a fan of smoke and mirrors.

It might take a couple of posts to get it all out. (If you're just joining this blog, you might want to reread some earlier posts; if you have been following, you might want to review!)

Picture this: 6 artists from 3 cultures, with varying degrees of skill and experience (both culturally and artistically, none of us graffiti artists) were able to unite in a foreign country, receive a prophetic word from the Lord within hours of meeting, agree on a creative expression of that, design it, figure out how to execute, stage and choreograph it, then execute it improvisationally and get a fairly accurate rendering in (almost) the allotted time slot, using materials we were unfamiliar with. All done while facilitating an arts camp, in 100+ degree heat, in jet lag. In four days.

It started with this simple request: Could we do a visual presentation of a song, to be performed Friday night at our outdoor concert in the main plaza of Baja? (Length of time: 5 min.)

Answer: yes.

That 'yes' unleashed a process; I’ll give you the blow by blow in two separate posts, but let’s begin with:

Day 1: discuss concept and goal of prophetic art, do a prayer walk as a first exercise; eat dinner together to debrief and share impressions, inspiration and ideas.

Day 2: art camp begins. Continue to brainstorm ideas for the main design concept and medium to be used; see which artist(s) felt comfortable painting on stage and decide who would paint. Buy art supplies; decide on color scheme in the store, because we only have a half hour.

Sketch ideas. Test materials (Hungarian art supplies may vary from American, UK or Canadian art supplies!); do mock up, scale version, of design sketch, to then fit actual canvas (2 x 3 meters); test model; adjust design.

Since we had decided on graffiti for style, we wanted a word. What was the Hungarian word for our theme of “Brokenness is the Beauty”? Team disperses to talk with translators, kids, participants in our classes, random passers-by...

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