Wednesday, 19 October 2022
Pete, Kathryn and their two children serve with SIM in Ivory Coast. Pete uses his giftings to create art that reaches his local community and prompts reflection through the ideas he communicates. He is also the Creative Arts Ministry Lead for SIM globally, which involves connecting SIM creative art workers across the globe.
Passionate about using art to share about the love of Jesus, Pete shared, “Communicating through the arts is emotional & visceral, not merely/only intellectual & academic. So, sharing Jesus in this way resonates with people in a way where our standard means of communication do not reach. The arts engage with different parts of people in powerful ways. Plus, it’s also a lot of fun!”
Recently, some of Pete’s works featured in various exhibits, including one being nominated for the international Loewe Craft Prize. Another one of his pieces featured in a local exhibit. This artwork, made from floor rags and dish scourers, was based on a traditional royal outfit from an ethnic group in West Africa. On the opening night of the exhibit, the controversial piece intrigued many, but one lady was quite shocked and asked him if he knew that he had depicted a royal outfit. After Pete told her he did in fact know, she informed him that the local royalty would be offended by his choice of materials.
Pete recalls, “I explained that Jesus came as King of the Jews, and yet washed his disciples’ feet and allowed himself to be beaten, humiliated and killed on a cross. Many were disappointed with him, but in the end, it brought our salvation.” As Pete shared, he saw a delightful transition in the woman’s expression as she learnt the meaning of his art.
Pete, like many others in SIM, uses local art styles to resonate with their audience. “I feel that art - any art - needs to make sense in the time and place where it is made,” Pete shared. “I also believe that art is a dialogue, or an act of communication, so it has to make sense to its intended audience. Using locally specific traditions and symbolism becomes like using a local language, which communicates very well with people and does create some special opportunities to share with people.”
As well as spending time in his studio crafting his work, Pete also networks so that he can meet local artists. He uses these opportunities to find people who are interested in talking about the Gospel and hearing what the Bible has to say about art and creativity.
While serving in cross-cultural mission, Pete has not only used art as a tool to reach others but experienced it as an important creative outlet that brought healing and restoration in his mission service. To someone considering serving God with their artistic abilities in mission, Pete said, “God makes us all different with differences for His own pleasure and they are to be used for his glory so go for it. Don’t bow to the pressure to conform your service to the prevailing image of what Gospel service is. Be brave. If we all did what we did in a Jesus honouring gospel-minded way, we would all make a wonderful Jesus-glorifying symphony.”
Do you want to serve God cross-culturally with your creative skills? Get in touch with a Mobiliser to find out more about where your skills are needed by visiting sim.org.au/startaconversation
Join us in praying for our mission workers are sharing the Good News in creative ways. Pray for seeds to be planted in people’s hearts.
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