Flight

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This picture of the monarch butterfly represents three levels of ‘being’- body, mind and spirit. Viewing in daylight represents the material world and body- what you see is what you get. Viewed under ultraviolet light, this is the mind- the aqua is what is right (according to God), and the red/orange are the things that look good but are deceptively bad.

The Way

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Illustrated by an aqua line is the path of the straight and narrow or the way of life and obedience as instructed by Jesus. When viewed in daylight and under UV light, the red/orange colour symbolizes the various temptations shortcuts in life that ultimately lead to destruction.

”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

Meaning #2

The aqua line resembles a shepherd’s staff, like Jesus the good shepherd.

I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15

 

Meaning #3

Viewed in the dark (glow in the dark) the aqua line resembles a question mark as if to ask ‘what is the right way to live’.

“Your word is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Ps 119, NIV)

The Vine

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The straight line in the picture represents Jesus (the vine) and the lines intersecting it believers (the branches). It draws on the principle of bearing good spiritual fruit (works) and that this cannot be achieved through one’s own strength but only through the empowerment of Jesus.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)

Set Apart

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The red/orange landscape represents our secular culture in rebellion against God and His will. The aqua lines symbolize a counter-culture, the Christian culture in its purist form. This is the way of life as instructed and demonstrated by Jesus. Whilst this way of life different to secular lifestyle, Christians are also impressed to live amongst wider society- to be IN the world but to not be OF the world.

“ If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”(John 15:19)

Promises

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Viewed in daylight, this picture shows patterns which are somewhat boring and repetitive. This is like the promise God gave to Abraham and Sarah of having a son and descendants despite infertility. Viewed in daylight, this is like the long hard years of waiting for a promise to be fulfilled, but having no evidence in sight. UV light reveals a depth previously unseen- like God’s faithfulness and working behind the scenes. Then, glowing in the dark are the stars of the night sky –fulfilment of a promise.

“look up at the sky and count the stars if you can- if indeed you can count them…So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5, NIV)

In Awe

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Meaning #1

This picture captures the experience of standing in awe of God’s character and power when watching a lightning storm or admiring other aspects of creation.

Meaning #2

The top half of the picture reveals intricate details showing a God of complexity, but with a beautiful and simplistic desire to relate to us. The lower half (red) marks the efforts of mankind to do things our own way that ultimately equates to nothing. When viewed in the dark (glow in the dark), dark areas which represent the disobedience of humanity toward God.

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26, NIV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Rain

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Viewed in daylight or under ultraviolet light, the picture shows a rocky red landscape which signifies a hard and difficult situation. In the wilderness, it can seem like God could not possibly be there, with no way out or answer in sight. But then the rain comes (aqua) and soaks through the dry ground and brings restoration. This is when God answers prayers, rapidly and miraculously changing a situation that moments before seemed utterly hopeless. Such outcomes go beyond natural logic and reason.

…‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:15-22, NIV)

Still Waters

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Meaning #1

In this picture is water amidst the bareness of the desert. The stream and the well represent God’s living water of which it is written that “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14, NIV)

 

Meaning #2

The picture captures the story of God leading Moses and the Israelites through the desert and the constant provision and guidance He provided throughout the whole journey. Depicted is Moses’ wooden staff of Moses and a piece of heavenly manna (circle)

Entering In

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Meaning #1

This picture shows the monarch butterfly at the end of its migration journey returning home to the warmth and comfort of the trees in a forest in Mexico

 

Meaning #2

When viewed in the dark (glow in the dark) this painting represents the experience of being God’s presence. Shown is a walkway with curtains on either side which is like entering into a different place that is unaffected by the darkness and troubles of the world.

 

Meaning #3

The painting shows the journey of a Christian at the end of their life, now entering into an eternal life and relationship with the Lord. The glow at the end of the path represents life after death to anyone who believes and is obedient to the will of God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in union with the Messiah Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, NIV)

 

Flight of the Monarch- Artist Statement

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This exhibition encompasses the theme of development and growth achieved by means of a journey. Comprised of both early and current works, the lifespan narrative of the Monarch butterfly is shown as it progresses from caterpillar and chrysalis (2012), to emerging as butterfly and the migration journey it spans over four generations (2016). In addition to the literal narrative, a story of Christian spirituality is also embedded within the work.

 Metamorphosis- from caterpillar to chrysalis (2012)

The series begins with a black and white colour scheme, as that is all Monarch caterpillar is able to see. The selective colouring (pink) has been used to show how the chrysalis acts as the catalyst bringing transformation from caterpillar to butterfly in the life of the Monarch. Only after emerging from the chrysalis is the Monarch able to see in colour, and better yet- in the ultraviolet spectrum.

On a spiritual note, the black and white represents the natural/physical way of viewing the world, whereas the progression to full colour highlights the increase in depth and visual insight   by the butterfly. This can be likened to an increase in ‘vision’ and direction in life and direction someone can find through faith in Christ. The pink chrysalis is also symbolic of God’s perfect, flawless love, and how this can be a catalyst for bringing about inner change and transformation in an individual’s life.

The Great Migration (2016)

The second half of the work shows the journey of the monarch as well as the diversity of landscapes encountered along the journey. The compositions for the landscapes were created using google maps by ‘zooming in’ and taking screenshots of various locations where a monarch might travel on its journey. The created perspective is like that of the butterfly viewing the landscape from a bird’s eye perspective. In addition, the paintings are laid flat on the floor where they are viewed from above, thus increasing the viewer’s sensation of viewing the landscapes in a way that resembles aerial photography.

To further the notion of different viewpoints and spirituality, the butterfly/landscape works can be viewed under three different light settings- daylight, ultraviolet light, and in the dark (glow in the dark). Viewed in daylight, this is like seeing the world from a completely physical perspective, where ‘seeing is believing’. In contrast, viewing the work under ultraviolet light is like the inner thoughts and depth of the mind. Illuminated is the conflict and contrast between the aqua colour (representing spirit/God’s will) and the red/orange tones (sinful nature/destruction/deception). This is like the tug-of-war inside the human mind between what is right and what is wrong.  Then, the third and final means of viewing is in the pitch blackness where only the aqua colour remains. This represents the spiritual aspect of mankind and the ever-present spirit of God that works in and around those who have faith in Him. It also seeks to reveal the hidden nature of God and show that not everything is as it first seems- that there is more to life than meets the eye.