During our mission to Thailand, we often found ourselves seeking connections ...... between here and there, between west and east, between Christian and Buddhist. One never knew what connection we might make, or what might result from it ..... and that was part of the excitement of mission.
It could be through a traditional American children's tune, adapted for young Asian ears ..... or it might be the realization that there are few places in this world where one can go without meeting another Manchester-United fan .....
..... or it could be discovering the art of Sawai Chinnawong ..... which is exactly what happened to our mission team during a visit to the McGilvary College of Divinity, part of the International College at Payap University.
According to the Overseas Ministry Study Center, "Sawai Chinnawong, of Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, is known for portraying Christianity through a Thai graphic idiom. Sawai is an ethnic Mon whose Buddhist ancestors migrated to Thailand from Myanmar. His drawings and paintings, inspired by traditional art from central Thailand, reflect a deep Christian faith."
The book, "Christ on the Bangkok Road: The Art of Sawai Chinnawong" is available from OMSC for $19.95, and can be ordered online HERE.
Reporting on "The Christian Story: Five Asian Artists Today,” a 2007 exhibit at of New York City’s Museum of Biblical Art, the Religion News Service said, "Thailand's Sawai Chinnawong is perhaps the most literal of the five artists, portraying specific biblical scenes ranging from the Garden of Eden to the Nativity." RNS went on to suggest that, while the five artists featured in that exhibit were not household names in the Western art world, "they are still better known in the West than in their own countries. These five contemporary Asian artists are all Christians, working as members of a minority religious tradition on a continent where Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam command the largest share of loyalty. That has not stopped these artists from producing biblically inspired art that expresses deeply held religious beliefs."
"My work represents influences from many styles," he explains in an online introduction to his work, Art at the OMSC. "I believe Jesus Christ is present in every culture, and I have chosen to celebrate his presence in our lives through Thai traditional cultural forms."
"My belief is that Jesus did not choose just one people to hear his Word, but chose to make his home in every human heart. And just as his Word may be spoken in every language, so the visual message can be shared in the beauty of the many styles of artistry around the world."