by James Tughan

In recent years, I have thought a great deal about the way creative artistry works and how it is fundamentally at the core of being human. In my own life journey that search had to a lot to do with not only the Imago Dei DNA wired into us all, but also the relational and neuro-psychological roots of how and why we imagine new images, new languages and new artistry in intentional design because of, or in spite of personal suffering and adversity.

We have personal access to the best role model of all in the imagination and applied artistry in Jesus, who can be shown to be the cultural initiator of all our artistic vocabularies, materials and languages. Dorothy Sayers in The Mind of the Maker, has argued that we understand God’s creativity by analogy, backwards as it were, from our own experience of the practice as working artists. Having said that, I decided a while back to work the problem in the opposite direction, and explore how Jesus has always been a role model in artistry, and an expert in multi-dimensional, relational creativity.

I have also been deeply impacted by a question of how the most ingenious creative mind in the cosmos could risk misappropriation, betrayal and death of all that artistic power at the hands of his own creation. Having experienced betrayal in vivid personal terms, I find the suffocating implications of this almost unimaginable.

The result for me has been the creation of a series of 10 sequential, surrealist, and trompe l’oeil chalk pastel drawings, (the first of which is shown here) in a narrative entitled Nine Faces of Christ. These images, imply that He has gone before us to make a way beyond trauma to recovery and restoration. This series will be exhibited at the Canadian office of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries at the CBC Building, 250 Front Street, from September through the first week of November.

Contact James Tughan tughanj@gmail.com

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