Faith and Art Intertwine

Student art explores the power of visual expression
Erdman art detail Bingham
Detail of "Desolate Woman" by Hanna Bingham

Students in Professor Sonia Waters' class The Creative Unconscious and Visual Life transformed experience into art — painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and mixed media. The course offered the opportunity for students to explore the power of visual expression in pastoral ministry, public space, and political protest.

"Some of the stories are pretty amazing," Waters says.

Students choose a personal or social issue such as mental health, trauma, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic issues, and faith struggles and reflect upon it "theologically or scripturally," and create a visual representation, she says.

“Most of the Christian associations are implicit,” Waters says, “using three canvases for a triptych, reflecting iconography styles, a cruciform stance, stations of the cross, very large flowers (the lilies of the field). But their presentations in class really showed how they melded their faith with their creative process.”

Hanna Bingham’s collage “Desolate Woman” explores sexual trauma, desolation, and resurrection. Bingham says, “My hope is not to erase the reality of the sexual trauma of myself and others who have experienced sexual violence, but to recognize that desolation and trauma, and to also acknowledge the power of our God who somehow has brought and continues to bring life out of death.”

Erdman art Phillip Hogan 1

Phillip Hogan’s plaster and acrylic mask, titled “The Invisible Wounds of War,” brings awareness to the hidden wounds suffered by veterans and the need for healing in community. “The mask depicts the ‘Warrior David’ and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, moral injury, and soul injury,” Hogan explains.

Samuel E. Marquez-Santa’s work responded to the Seminary’s audit on slavery with an architectural rendering of a memorial garden, what he describes as “a cathartic experience” on campus, a “place for lament, liberation, and reconciliation,” embracing the Seminary’s plan for repentance and repair.

The two dozen works from Water’s “creativity class” are on display in the Erdman Center Gallery.

The Creative Unconscious and Visual Life Art Exhibit

Click the image above to view this photo gallery.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Chaplain at the Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Khristi Adams, Class of 2008

“At Princeton, we had precept groups—we’d engage text and debate. That gave me confidence to have those conversations anywhere.”