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ACAA Executive Meeting in China
Rev. Ron O'Grady

Few countries have given such a high priority to Christian art as China. In the wake of the cultural revolution, Chinese Christian leaders debated the cultural question of what it mean to be truly Christian and truly Chinese. Out of this struggle they have developed programmes of theological training which have produced a whole network of Christian artists whose work is highly professional and which challenges the whole community to look at Christianity in a new light. Christianity can no longer be seen as "foreign" religion but a faith which has deep roots in the Chinese soil.

Against this background the executive of the Asian Christian Art Association held their annual meeting for the first time in China. April 29-May 5, 2000. The China Christian Council hosted the visit and left the executive in no doubt about the church commitment to the development of indigenous arts.

One memorable evening was spent at the Nanjing Amity Centre meeting with a number of Chinese artists. The walls of the room and every available space where filled with art works which were being selected for a major exhibition of Chinese Christian Art which will be held in Vienna Art Museum (September 17 - October 30). The works for exhibition will be include many which use traditional China media: paper cuts, wood carving, scroll painting, calligraphy and brush painting. There is a high degree of professionalism in their execution.

The executive members visited other galleries and museums during their visit and came away with an increased understanding of the depth and extent of modern Chinese art.

In the business session of the executive, the Chairman's report showed that the ACAA is doing well in its new headquarters in Yogyakarta. Image magazine continue to be produced quarterly and provide an important network for Asian artists. A number of art exhibition have been held around the world and ACAA has had some involvement in many of them.

One of the new initiatives of the Association is the decision to establish a web site for ACAA, as a means of information on the work of ACAA and to provide an updated gallery for artist to exhibit their works and have them made known around the world.

Another new programme is the publication of a book of Christian art which will feature artworks and meditations from around the world. To be called Christ For All People, it is planned for publication in 2001.

In the longer term it still hope that the ACAA will one day be able to establish a permanent exhibition centre for Asian Christian art. To do it properly with adequate air conditioning and lighting will be quite a costly undertaking and will need much planning. It is however a dream which the executive continues to pursue at each of its meetings.

The ACAA has now been in existence for 22 years and continues to serve the churches of Asia and around the world with contemporary of faith.


© ACAA - Asian Christian Art Association