In May 2018, OM Taiwan received three Christian visual artists from the U.S.A., East Asia and Hong Kong. Before they came, they had received a three-months training in Italy with OM Arts Incarnate – where they lived with various Christian artists from all over the world and learnt how to exercise their artistic gifts for the Lord.
After the training, they stayed for one month in Tong Luo, a Hakka town. In Taiwan, the Hakka people are considered least reached, with only a 0.2% evangelical Christian population. The artists were asked to create artwork which reflected the characteristics of the Hakka people as well as Christian values. By connecting with locals, the artists were able to find some cultural Hakka elements to include in their artwork. These pieces were pulled together in an art exhibition at the Tong Luo train station – the most populated public area in the small town.
The main purpose of the exhibition was to reach out to those who did not know Christ. The OM team had never done a one-week long event in the train station, and were not sure if the permission would be granted to do so. Surprisingly, when they met the train station master, he did not ask too many questions. Within only a few minutes, the permission was given for the exhibition. The OM team believes that it was God who opened the door for the event to happen in that location.
‘What is home?’
These three artists have different artistic styles. Jane* from East Asia creates artwork using languages and words. One of her pieces was to separate Hakka into “Hak” and “Ka”, which in Mandarin can mean ‘guest’ and ‘home.’ Then she wrote ‘What is home?’ and ‘What does it mean to be a guest?’ on a large sheet of paper. Many visitors came and left their comments. One uncle wrote, “I am a Hakka. I eat my dinner and watch TV every night.” A team member wondered why he wrote this because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with being Hakka. The elderly man explained that his children all work in other cities, his wife passed away a few years ago, and therefore, every night he watches TV together with the photo of his deceased wife and has his meal all by himself. He expressed his deep feelings towards the words ‘guest’ and ‘home’ because even though physically he was at home, emotionally he felt like a guest. This man visited the team every day during the exhibition to chat with them. Through these conversations the team learnt to deeply feel and identify with the loneliness of the elderly in the community.
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