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    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    Merry Christmas

    Nativity, by He Qi

    (Click here for more.)

    UPDATE: The artist's account of discovering the Christian version of God:

    During the Cultural Revolution, while I was a Middle School student, I was sent down to the countryside to do manual labour in the early 1970s. This was something which happened to most Middle School Students at that time. I didn't want to do heavy physical labour every day, so I found a way to get out of this. At that time there was a huge demand for portraits of Chairman Mao, since everyone wanted to hang his portrait in their home or workplace. So, I managed to spend my days painting, copying portraits of Chairman Mao, instead of labouring in the fields.

    One day I happened to come across a very old copy of a magazine which contained a picture of the painting "Madonna and Child" by Raphael. I was extremely moved by this painting. At the time of the Cultural Revolution the atmosphere was one of struggle, of hatred, of criticism. All around you could only see images of struggle and criticism. It was hard to find any images of peace. So, you can imagine how I felt when I saw this picture, with the Madonna smiling and the little baby Jesus also smiling out at me. I was deeply moved and touched, and felt a great sense of peace. After this, I did portraits of Chairman Mao by day and then, late at night, I did some copies of the "Madonna and Child," both sketches and oil paintings. I gave some of these copies to friends to encourage them too. To this day I still keep one of those oil paintings and recently a famous woman writer who was my neighbour during those times told me that she still has one of the "Madonna and Child" sketches which I gave her.

    This was my first contact with Christianity and with Christian art. From this encounter, I went on to find out more about the Christian faith.

    As Pope Benedict said this Christmas:

    God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him.

    May you, too, find the peace and love promised in the manger.

    posted by Sydney on 12/24/2006 01:11:00 PM 0 comments


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