Christian carved artist JIA Wenliang, who plans to hold a "Love, Peace, Thankfulness" carved Bible series art tour across the country in 2020, is in talks with Yanjing Theological Seminary and looking for more seminaries, churches or museums to display.
The following is Professor Jia Wenliang's introduction to the origin and exhibition plan for the series entitled, "Love, Peace, Gratitude":
I was baptized in 1986, when the elders of the Christian Church in Jixi City, Heilongjiang, wanted to focus on training me to work in church ministry. During the following year I went to Nanjing Union Theological Seminary to study theology and met Vice President CHEN Zemin. Chen learned that I was the provost of the Chinese Book and Painting Correspondence University Jixi Branch, and a professional calligraphy teacher. He said to me in good faith, "You have reached a certain achievement level in painting and calligraphy so you do not have to read theology and may work for the Church with your own expertise ..." Since then, a seed of artistic creation has been planted in my mind.
Because of my passion for calligraphy, I then became interested in the pictogram of ancient Chinese characters, and further studied the structure of the creation of the oracles and the Jin script as well as the events between the people and God recorded in the Bible. I then accumulated some works through the creation of the form of book-printing.
In 2008, when my work was on display in Beijing, the President of the German Peace Council saw it and after understanding my creation through translation, hugged me with excitement and called me an Ambassador for Peace and invited me to Germany to have an exhibition. At that time, I hadn't accumulated very many works so I didn't promise. But it was his remarks that led to the theme, "Love, Peace, Gratitude".
In 2009, I chose 12 carved Bible art works for Nanjing to meet Pastor Chen Zemin. After 23 years Rev. Chen still remembered me, and after seeing my works he excitedly said to me: "I really did not expect it as I said it so casually. Yet, you really made it! He introduced me to the Secretary-General of the National Christian Councils, Pastor XU Xiaohong, and Secretary-General QIU Zhonghui of the Aide Foundation.
The cover of all the 12 issues of Tianfeng magazine of 2010 featured my works, and the 10th issue of the magazine published an interview with me.
After 14 years of accumulation, I have produced more than 200 carved pieces.
My initial idea was to share with people the works that had God moved me to create, and to prove that the Christian faith was pictured in the hieroglyphics of ancient Chinese characters.
In 2010, I selected "God's Love of the World" and "Happy Heart Is a Good Medicine". Of these two works and 20,000 copies each were printed in Nanjing and given to whichever church I visited during a tour.
In 2020, I plan to start to display "Love, Peace, Thankfulness" across the country in churches and museums where they are capable of holding such an event.
Because of President GAO Ying's invitation to me in 2011 to give a lecture on "Witnessing to the Gospel through the Art of Book-Printing" at Yanjing Theological Seminary, the first exhibition is expected to be held in the chapel of the seminary.
- Translated by Charlie Li