Kenya: Discover the Jesuit’s Advent Art of Patrick Taban

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It is that time of the year in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar when we begin the year by celebrating the advent season. Advent is the season of hope. Every year this basic spiritual attitude is reawakened in the hearts of Christians, who, while they prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Christ the Saviour’s Birth, revive the expectation of his glorious second coming at the end of time. During this period of advent, Hekima Jesuit Community under the leadership of Fr. John Ghansah S.J. has decided to celebrate the advent season in a special way. The community has set up a series of graphic arts to enhance the community’s understanding of advent.

With the above idea of visual art to depict the advent season, Patrick Taban, a Jesuit from South Sudan, has artistically drawn a portrait to help others reflect on advent. The portrait has been enriched by the Spiritual Exercises exercise of St. Ignatius. While mixing art, theology and passion, Patrick brings out the clear vision of the challenges that the world is called to face. The portrait also depicts the encyclical of Pope Francis on Ecology. Honore Onana Olah went to meet PATRICK TABAN, Jesuit passionate of art. Here is what he is telling us about this work of art:

The Advent Art of Patrick Taban
The Advent Art of Patrick Taban

The Advent Art
The Advent art could unfold in four pieces which are interconnected by the movement of the scenes toward the birth of Christ Jesus. There will be Heaven, earth and under the earth, following the creation narrative in Genesis 1.

First episode: Contemplation of the Trinity
This first picture has the following elements. First, in Heaven, there are three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit resemble each other except the Father is elderly with gray hair which is the sign of wisdom. The Son faces to the side of the Chibok Girls and the Boko Haram soldiers. The Holy Spirit faces to the side of the city center full of smokes from the towering building and pile of waste under it. The father on the other hand facing to the dry ground with the stems of threes cut down as well as the sea with dead fish in it. The whole set up portrays the contemplation of the trinity upon the earth and conversing onto what action they could do to bring salvation onto the earth.
On the earth what is taking place is violence. The city is on smoke, air pollution. Thre are piles of waste causing cholera. Deforestation led to lack of rain and thus dry and cracking ground. This eventually leads to death, shown by the scattered human bones. Trees stem shows deforestation. Right next to it are the Chibok girls surrounded by the Boko Haram soldiers showing war and ill treatment of civilians especially women. Right in front is the mountain of the Lord.
Under the earth, we can see the water body a little drying due to lack of rain and thus the water level reduced, as a result, the fishes died and are floating on the water. It can as well be seen that the water body has been poisoned resulting to the death of the fishes.
With all this happenings on earth, the Father and the Holy Spirit will decide to send the Son on earth in order to bring salvation on earth.

Honore Onana Olah, SJ

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