Forum News: Art, Spirituality, and Social Activism

The Association of Adventist Forums, San Diego Chapter, will host a lecture titled “Art, Spirituality, and Social Activism” by Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein.

Date: April 11th, 2009
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Tierrasanta SDA Church
Facilitator(s): Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein, M.F.A.
Chair, Department of Art, and Director, Brandstater Gallery, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA

About the Speaker:

Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein was born and raised in Colombia, South America, and later lived in Germany and Mexico before immigrating to the United States in 1988. She studied fine arts and music in her native Colombia, and received a Master of Fine Arts degee from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Her work addresses a range of social concerns and, using diverse media, speaks about multicultural and cross-cultural issues. These concerns include violence against women and children as well as the cultural displacement and fragmentation experienced by persons torn from their community or country. She uses her art as a vehicle for personal and community reconciliation.

She has taught and exhibited extensively since the mid 1970s. Her mixed media installations, paintings, and assemblages incorporate layering processes, representing the multiplicity of her own life as artist, teacher, mother, and wife.

Currently she is the Chair of the Art Department and director of the Brandstater Gallery at La Sierra University in Riverside, California.

About the Topic:

“Art” has only seldom been the focus of an SDAF presentation. The first occasion for the Chapter to hear about this topic was April, 1983, when Don Hamer presented: Religion and the Arts. This was twenty-six years ago. Did you attend this session? At that time, by the way, Don Hamer was an assistant professor in the Department of Theology, Loma Linda University. SDAF meetings were held in the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley, San Diego. Any memories triggered?

More recently, September, 1990, Adventism and the Arts was presented by Dr. Ed Zackrison who was then an Associate Professor of Theology and Ministry at LLU. This session looked especially at Adventism and its relationship to the performing arts. It was held at the Point Loma SDA church. Might you have been present to hear this controversial exchange?

Where is Adventism now in its perspective on the arts – performing, visual, and auditory? Would the answer to the above vary, at least to some extent, on where the question would be posed geographically?

And is the art we’ve come to appreciate typically restricted to painting of beautiful sunsets, deserts ablaze with flowers in bloom, seascapes with clouds above? What about art which intends to transmit a message about societal values, mores’, or . . . .?

Beatriz Krumbein, the SDAF speaker for April; 11, indicates: “Historically art has been crucial in pointing out social concerns and realities. The art reflects the time in which the artist is or was living and reveals the social, ethical, and spiritual mirror of its time. Art express a socio-religious worldview. Are SDA higher education institutions ready to accept these facts about art? Are we prepared to challenge our art students to respond to life in the art they create?”

“Note,” continues this experienced artist, “the presentation will have two elements: A power point presentation (45 minutes) and a video screening. The video title is: Donde Perdi Mi Inocencia (Where I Lost My Innocence), duration about 30 minutes. The video will present fragments of my life and how these experiences or passages have shaped the art I create.” To get an insight into her life, access her website: http://www.beatrizmejia-krumbein.com. It is most informative and interesting.

Questions to Ponder (proposed by the speaker)

1) 1) What is art? Is it necessary? What is its function?

2) In what ways does art affect people?

3) Is aesthetics equated with taste?

4) Does art relate to spirituality as well as to social and political engagement?

Dr. Mejia-Krumbein will also participate in the upcoming “Adventist Women and the Earth” conference on April 25, 2009. She will lead a workshop about art and ecology.

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