Catholic priest highlights cause of Indian Christian art
Catholic Christian art may be plentiful in the U.S., but in India a priest is complaining that they simply do not have enough of it.
Father Paul Kattukaran, national coordinator of Indian Christian Artists Forum, said the Church in India needs to encourage Indian Christian art because it is an important tool in spiritual formation, Catholic News India said.
The ICAF was founded on August 4 in Bangalore by the CBCI Commission for Social Communications, according to the CBCI website. The network is comprised of leading Christian artists in India, who are renowned in various parts of the country.
Fr. George Plathottam, CBCI executive secretary said the ICAF is relevant today as “Communication is becoming more and more visual and we are moving away from a literate to image based culture. Promotion of Christian art in India is essential if we are to effectively communicate the message of the gospel to the people of the country,” the website said.
Plathottam said art is not just for the elite. “The pictures on the walls are like scriptures for the laity. We need an artistic expression that is indigenous, rooted in the native symbols and ethos of our country, as we cannot live for long on borrowed images and imagery.”
Kattukaran said, “Christian art is a sacrament and a sign of unseen grace,” Catholic News India reported. Through ICAF it is hoped that a deeper understanding can be had of Indian Christian art among the laity, religious and the clergy.
According to Kattukaran, there is also a need to encourage and motivate Christian art buyers to understand the value of Christian visual artwork, and to be willing to pay a good price for it. He said this would help to promote and sustain the work of Christian artists, APEN said.
Kattukaran earned his doctorate in Christian art at Dharmaram College. He said it is important that every diocese teach children and adults art education because it can enhance mission, evangelization and catechism. He told Catholic News India, “My faith is generated and nourished by art. Images of Jesus Christ in the Bible are a great faith experience.”
Kattukaran said Christian arts was strongly boosted when Pope Benedict XVI met last year at the Vatican with some 250 artists from many nations, Catholic News India said. In that meeting the pope cited the common journey of “faith and the artist’s path,” APEN reported.
Known for his ecumenical outlook, Kattukaran has been involved with various Christian art organizations for many years. He plans to hold ICAF’s next meeting on Feb. 2011 in Kolkata, during which time they will display an art exhibition on Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, Catholic News India reported.