Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU) located in Tainan, Taiwan became the backdrop to the first of its kind; Global Painting Retreat, organised by the Council for World Mission. The vision of Council for World Mission (CWM) is “Fullness of life Through Christ, for all Creation” reiterates the emergence of resistance to the norms of the Empire consequently creating alternative spaces for God’s mission.
The Global Painting Retreat theme is “Discerning the signs of the time to resist the Empire.” The Global Painting Retreat officially started with an Opening Worship on Tuesday 3rd May 2016. Artists from Wales, New Zealand, Taiwan, Fiji, Philippines, Zambia, Botswana, Korea and India were invited and gathered at CJCU. The Opening Worship had the essence of inclusivity as artists were invited to partake in devotion. Artists were welcomed with a warm reception from Dr. Alex Lee President of CJCU, Dr. Victor Hsu the Associate General Secretary of PCT and Dr Sudipta Singh the Executive Secretary of the Council for World Mission. A special mention to the staff and students of CJCU who have been great hosts to the artists. Additionally the serenading presence of the indigenous people of the Siraya tribe and choir also brought to light the current social, cultural and political provisions that have been perpetuated by the Empire. The welcoming day/ceremony was concluded where artists were later treated and fellowshipped over food and ice tea with staff and organisers of the Painting retreat.
For the first two days saw guest speakers express their beliefs on the “Mission in the context of the Empire.” Speakers highlighted and considered it through the lens and not limited to the ideas/Global issues of Empire, Globalisation, Power, Household of God, Signs and Religion. Furthermore artists are expected to discuss the nine thematic areas from the “Framing the Global Mission Agenda for the Council for World Mission. This provided and provides the context for the artists (whom come from different artistic backgrounds) and time and space to discuss and unpack Biblical faith theologically to guide and help them with their paintings.
Increased corresponding between the Empire and God’s mission will see processes of disruption and adaptation occur around visual arts. However Fook reminds us “in a reflexive understanding, personal experiences itself becomes a legitimate focus. Self is the lens through which we see and understand the world, then it is crucial that the lens itself be included reflexively in any understanding of our world. This Painting retreat creates a space that will attempt to choreograph the representations and performances of the relationships between Gods mission and our mission, respectfully the ethos to understand the aspirations and negotiations of the Empire.
Over the course of the Painting Retreat the artists are blessed to be mentored by internationally acclaimed artist Mr Manny Garibay from the Philippines. The Global Painting Retreat has not only unified ideologies but also it is also a step forward in globalising art and artists.