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Perspectives Arts welcomes the perspectives of all people through the medium of artistic expression. Through events like Perspectives on the Passion or Perspectives on Redemption, the Perspectives Arts team has seen numerous viewpoints on challenging topics and ideas. In each Art Show, there have been drastically different takes on themes that shows the diversity of artists’ worldviews. Even year-to-year, the same Art Show brings together unique and original interpretations. The following gallery contains this year’s Perspectives on the Passion Show.

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Restoration by Stephanie Merchant

"Restoration" is a 24" x 48" acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped stretched canvas. This painting holds significant meaning to me because it resulted from personal experience and includes the likenesses of my Sisters in Christ, some of whom I have known for over 20 years. In addition, I incorporated elements from the story of the prodigal son, as well as Jesus' death and resurrection.

 

After sharing God's Truth in love with a fellow Sister in Christ, it caused division among my Bible Study Sisters, with whom I have been meeting for over 16 years. The road to healing and restoration was long and painful, but God is faithful as I was welcomed back into our Sisterhood, Women of Worth.

 

I wanted to depict what it was like being pulled out of a dark place in my life, so I showed myself climbing out of a treacherous cliff. My black dress and the dark background behind me symbolize the darkness I experienced while being separated from my Sisters (although I was never separated from God). The sharp rocks and dark ground on the left represent the obstacles and darkness I faced during this separation. The lighter and smooth ground on the right side of the painting going towards Golgotha represents being back together with my Sisters, and an "obstacle-free" life in Jesus.

 

Two of my Sisters in Christ are at the edge of the cliff, lovingly reaching down to me to pull me up from my dark place and restore me to the Sisterhood. The rest of my Sisters are also reaching out in unity, while two of them are holding my purple robe to put on me once I am restored (similar to the prodigal, when the father puts a robe on him after he returned home). Purple not only is my favorite color, but also represents royalty--I am a daughter of the Most High King! Each of my Sisters is clothed in a dress of their favorite color, which represents beauty and joy.

 

In the background are the three crosses on top of Golgotha, the hill of the skull, where Jesus was crucified. Jesus' cross in the center is empty, because He is alive and was restored to the right hand of God after being raised from the dead! The blood below the cross represents the blood He shed for us to take away the sins of the world. The sunlight behind it represents that Jesus is the Light of the World.

 

In the foreground is a banquet table covered with a white cloth, representing our sins being washed white as snow by Jesus' shed blood. Similar to the prodigal son's father holding a banquet for him when he ""returned from the dead,"" my Sisters and I will hold a banquet to celebrate the Restoration of our Sisterhood. The green grass around the banquet table represents new life.

 

The eleven golden chalices on the table represent each Sister and how valuable they are to me, as well as each of the apostles who remained loyal to Jesus. On the edge of the painting is the twelfth chalice, for Jesus. Also on the table is a loaf of bread, representing Jesus as the Bread of Life--we will be partaking in communion in remembrance of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice, as well as the reconciliation of our group.

 

Incidentally, the painting took 40 hours to complete, which coincides with the number of days Jesus was in the desert before he was tempted by the devil before beginning His ministry.

 

What I hope the Perspectives on the Passion audience receives first and foremost from viewing "Restoration" is that having friends who love you and are willing to forgive you are crucial when misunderstandings occur, feelings are hurt, and restoration needs to happen; and secondly, that no matter how dark our past is or what sins we may have committed, restoration and eternal life are possible through repentance and surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ.