This article reflects on how artists, thinkers and theologians have been gathering with KRUX, considering what it means to be a ‘culture maker’.
Inspired by organizations like CIVA, artway.eu, Morphe Arts and The Rabbit Room, South Africans have realised the need for a place where artists can think deeply, come together and dialogue about faith.
KRUX has become a place where the meaning of good and useful ‘culture care’ (a term coined and developed by the artist Makoto Fujimura) can be explored and dialogued about. Below are the lectures and talks we have enjoyed at the annual Artists’ Gatherings, some of which contains links to the content. Scroll down for more about each speaker.
The hopeful Interplay of Christianity, Creativity and Citizenship in Our Current Context – Panel discussion Facilitated by Vera Marbach
Christianity and the arts – Panel discussion
- What is the current relationship between Christianity and the arts in SA and abroad.
- What makes art ‘Christian’ or not?
- How do we understand the need for artists among the many pressing needs of the South African context. (i.e. is art a luxury or a necessity).
The mystery of matter (‘stof’): Three presentations by contemporary painters – Klara-Marie den Heijer, Elbie Visser, Ydi Coetsee (oil painting)
Conceptual movement – Jessica Williams
Word and image: Three artist presentations – Inge Semple, Esther Hamman, Maryke van Velden, Stephen Quirke (visual arts)
Looking at Looking: A Cautionary Reminder of Some Things You Already Know About the Photographic – Dr Stella Viljoen
Transformation / ‘in wording‘ – Four artist presentations – Marieke Kruger (with Joseph Buys), Francois van der Merwe, Stuart Benade
Reflecting self – drawing as a vehicle facilitating reciprocity between the drafter and her life-world – Marieke Kruger
How can the church and artists serve each other – James Krohn
The Architecture of Light: Dark Waters, Hebrew Poetry and the Artist’s Eternal Calling – Gideon Nel
Feedback from the 37th European Christian Artists Seminar in Doorn, The Netherlands – Heidi Salzwedel
Orbits of Relating – An invitation to embrace contemporary art – Chris Soal
Feedback on the 40 Stones in a wall exhibition at Grahamstown National Arts Festival – Jonathan Griffiths & Eben Lochner
Self Aware Artistry: the artist as giver, receiver, and mediator – Heidi Salzwedel
Ecce Homo and the Myth of the Secular – James Krohn
Evangelicals and the Visual Arts: A short history and assessment – James Krohn
A Spirituality of Wonder and the Aesthetics of Everyday Life (Food, Clothes, and Furniture) – Gideon Strauss
What would Jesus paint – a Search for a Christian Aesthetic – Loraine Beaton
Casting a vision for the arts in the church and current society – Dr. Wesley Vander Lugt
How Art Can Change the World – Dr. Wesley Vander Lugt
Niggle Country: The Promise and Peril of Human Creativity – Dr. Wesley Vander Lugt
Holistic Personhood and Identity: What is this term ‘Christian Artist’ all about? – Heidi Salzwedel
Releasing our Creativity- Play, Attentiveness, and Getting Rid of Barriers – Hilary Murdoch
Reforming Vision: What has Protestantism done for the Arts – Dr. James Krohn
Can Beauty Save the World? – James Krohn and Gabe Smith
About the speakers
Wesley Vander Lugt is Lead Pastor of Warehouse 242 in Charlotte and adjunct faculty at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He holds a PhD in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts from the University of St Andrew and is the author of several books and articles, including Living Theodrama: Reimagining Theological Ethics.
Dr James Krohn is a theological educator, former pastor, and current founder of the Krux Centre for Christianity and Culture. He studied Graphic Design in Stellenbosch before completing a Master’s degree in theology under Dr JI Packer in Canada, and a DTh on Calvin’s Trinitarian vision in Stellenbosch. He has lectured in Systematic Theology for more than a decade both in South Africa and abroad, and has served as pastor of a small community church on an island off the coast of British Columbia. He and his family are avid outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers.
Heidi Salzwedel is co-founder of the art collective 40 Stones in the Wall, and is an artist and art educator. She holds a Masters in Visual Art (Arts Education) from Stellenbosch University.
Loraine Beaton, currently head of Screen Acting at the Open Window school of Film Arts, completed a BAFine Arts at UP, an HONS in directing and performance at Rhodes and is currently busy with her MADA at Wits. She also did 3rd year courses in Philosophy, English Literature, Creative Writing and Video and has taught Visual Literacy, Art History and Screen Writing. With a passion for the integration of the arts and it’s potential to convey ideas, her current research looks at intermedial theatre and it’s capacity to function as an alternative space for the current race debate in South Africa. She is married to Johan Erasmus who pastors Dialoog community in Pretoria.
Gideon Strauss PhD is Associate Professor in Worldview Studies at the Institute for Christian Studies (Toronto) and Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Justice (Washington DC). He cares about professional artists partly because one of his daughters studies, practices, and teaches fine arts (in particular, printmaking) at Concordia University in Montreal. He taught philosophical aesthetics for many years, with an emphasis on the aesthetics of everyday life.
Duncan Stewart is a professional artist with a passion for telling stories that inspire creativity. Trained as a graphic designer first, after several years in the ad industry in Johannesburg he went on to further his training as a fine artist in Florence, Italy. His work incorporates painting, drawing and sculpture – and it is this same agility to move between mediums and concepts that empowers Duncan, a passionate speaker on creativity, to share his moving insights into the obstacles that can be overcome in journeying towards unlocking creativity’s fullest potential in individuals and organisations. Duncan lives and works in PE with his German frau and their several children.
Stella Viljoen is an associate professor in Visual Studies at Stellenbosch University. She is the chair of the Department of Visual Arts. She has a Masters in History of Art and a PhD in Media Studies. Her research is primarily concerned with the representation of gender in periodicals.
Oddo Bam is a musician from Cape Town, South Africa, with a recurring inclination to confide in thoughtful music and lyrics. Central to his musical career is a delight in the gathering of a community around music – something that is evident in the atmosphere at his performances. Studying literature in Stellenbosch, he started performing as a solo artist in 2014 and released his first single, “Sweet Ocean”, in January 2015. A few months later he returned to the studio to record his first EP, The Snow Burial, which was released in September 2015 and features four lyrically loaded songs with an intimate living room feel. His first full length album appeared in 2017, after having raised over R60 000 through a Crowdfunding campaign.
Marieke Kruger is an established artist as well as teacher. She recently completed a second master’s degree with a solo exhibition entitled “Reflecting Self” of drawings as partial requirement towards obtaining the degree, at the Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate in October/November 2014. She currently works as a visual artist and lecturer of drawing and printmaking at the Jack Meyer Art Centre in Paarl, South Africa.
Franli Meintjes completed her BA fine Arts degree in 2004 at the University of the Free State and is working as a full-time visual artist since 2012. Meintjes’s work has been selected for three consecutive years and placed in the Top 10 of the 2013 and 2014 Absa L’ Atelier Art Competition and she has exhibited in numerous Absa group shows: Post-Colonial Africa – KKNK 2014, Re-working the Still – Vryfees Bloemfontein 2014, The Confessional – KKNK & Absa Gallery Johannesburg 2017.
Chris Soal (b. 1994) is an emerging artist living and practicing in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris Soal graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a Bachelors in Fine Art (Honours) in 2017. He works as a cinematographer at the Centre for the Less Good Idea, founded by South African-born internationally renowned artist William Kentridge, and as a writer on art and culture for Bubblegum Club, and as an artist in his own capacity. His work was exhibited at the Johannesburg, Turbine Art Fair, 13 – 16 July 2017 where he was Represented by No End Contemporary. He was part of the top 30 of the Taxi Art Foundation Award 2017 and most recently was awarded 1st price in the 2018 PPC imaginarium competition.
Ydi Coetsee is a practicing fine artist and artist-in-residence of Krux.africa. She holds a Masters in Visual Arts (fine arts) at Stellenbosch University.
Vesper Stamper has been an illustrator for over 20 years and now also writes and illustrates novels of historical fiction, including her upcoming novel, A Cloud of Outrageous Blue. Her debut illustrated YA novel, What the Night Sings, about the post-Holocaust period, was a National Book Award Nominee, a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, a Morris Award Finalist, Golden Kite Honor Book and Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner, and was named a Best YA Book of 2018/9 by YALSA, the Wall Street Journal and Kirkus. Vesper has a BFA in Illustration from Parsons and an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from School of Visual Arts. She lives with her husband, filmmaker Ben Stamper, and her two teenagers, in the Northeast.