Congress of Asian Theologians III, Yogyakarta 2001


Congress of Asia Theologians III
Yogyakarta, August 6 - 9, 2001


(09/01/2001) The Congress of Asia Theologians III was held at Duta Wacana Christian University Yogyakarta, Indonesia on August 6-9, 2001 with theme: "Visioning New Life Among Asian Religions". Along with that was a spiritual painting exhibition of about 15 painters from Yogyakarta organised by the student Art Group of Duta Wacana Christian University at the campus hall of Duta Wacana which have accompanied the participants to reflect on life throughout the conference.



Asian Spiritual Art Exhibition 2001, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Japan Christian Art 25th Exhibition
OASIS Exhibition by Kaji Habeb, Indonesia


Here we quoted the article - originally displayed at the catalogue exhibition - written by Rev. Robert Setio, Ph.D., the local committee of that conference.

Confrontation, by PracoyoLIKE theologians, painters are also interpreters. What do they interpret? Do they also interpret God? Just like theologians, the object of interpretation of painters is never limited. Things and beings that exist in the universe are the objects of painting for painters. But, painters do not only have see-able objects, painters may also express their imagination on the canvas of something unseen. Through their sharp senses, painters may perceive and interpret even the most abstract objects. Therefore, spiritual matters, including God, might appear in the works of the painters.

We see in this exhibition (read: in this pages) some pieces of spiritual paintings. The masters have tried to express their interpretation of spirituality. But, as we notice, there are many ways of approaching the theme of spirituality. Some try to approximate spirituality through religious tradition such as a narrative from a holy text. But, the others may take a different road, even, their own and unique road to arrive at the depth of spirituality. There is no constraint as to how a painter should interpret the delicate matter. We, however, are expected to agree that spirituality is, indeed, a broadest issue. God as the main source of spirituality, can be approached with many different ways, since God is, indeed, infinite.

Theologians may sometime have to learn from painters that imposing a confinement on the interpretation of God (by which I mean theology), is impossible, if not unnecessary. Theologians, in their hardest effort in deciphering God, can one time be trapped in their own understanding and come into conclusion that God is no more than what they have understood of God. No wonder if in the end there is a feeling of strandedness.
No more development and no more excitement for comprehending the meaning of the presence of God. As if, theology has been completed and any talk of it is no other than a repetition. Worse than that, any different thought would be regarded apostasy, even blasphemy. When this happens, we should take the wisdom of the painters that there is no certain way for interpreting the wonder of God.

Our conference theme: "Visioning New Life Among Asian Religions", invites us to, once more, discern life. But, what is new life, anyway? Is not life forever constant? Yes, life may be the same since the beginning of time, but, the meaning of life may not always be the same. The meaning of life may and should vary from time to time and from place to place. Humanity is always called to give life a new meaning. The existence of the new meaning of life is, even, a proof of the existence of life itself. Since to live is actually to give a new meaning of anything, even of things that look so ordinary. We should never stop in producing new meaning of life. Because, when we stop doing that we will find our life dull. And, at this point we are loosing life. The crisis that has hit Asia lately, has created multi dimensional problems. This is at least true from Indonesian perspective. We live in an era where death is threatening us stronger than ever. But, let us not be afraid. Let us show that we prefer life than death, by doing the process of giving life a new meaning. And, since life is never privatized, rather, it belongs to everyone. Let us seek the new life in a spirit of togetherness, especially, among Asian religions (hopefully this pluralism will include native believes).

The paintings will accompany us to reflect on life throughout the conference. They also encourage us to always seek and share new life. Just like the masters, let us produce "a theological painting" with a spirit of freedom, creativity, imaginativeness, and subtle sensitivity. Let us paint our "canvas", that is, Asia in crisis as well as Asia in a global world with colorful images according to the richness of our cultures and awareness.

The artists whom their art works are displayed in these pages are: A.B. Dwiantoro, Aming Prayitno, Dopo Yeihan, Gardjito Pamungkas, Ida Hadjar, Nunung Nurdjiati, Ning Yutiastuti, Pracoyo, Rina T. Libert, Titoes Libert.

Following are some of the art works which displayed on that exhibition.
Please click the thumbnails to view image in larger size.


Adam and Eve, by Pamungkas Gardjito, Indonesia Blood for All, by A.B. Dwiantoro, Indonesia Ichtus,  by Rina T. Libert, Indonesia Love and Affection, by Titoes Libert, Indonesia Madonna and Child, by Nunung Nurdjioti Mother's Tears, by Ida Hadjar, Indonesia
Praying, by Titoes Libert, Indonesia The Face of Christ, by Aming Prayitno, Indonesia The Holy Water, Dopo Yeihan, Indonesia The Kings, by Ning Yutiastuti, Indonesia The Opened Sky, by V.A. Sudiro, Indonesia Towards Peace, by A.B. Dwiantoro

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