Planting a seed: Artists share their voices in ‘What is Holiness?’ exhibit

Everyone has a story.

“Hammam” by Juliana Coles. (Courtesy of Norbertine Community Santa Maria De La Vid Abbey)

And 72 artists are lending their voice to the “What is Holiness?” exhibit at The Norbertine Community Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey.

The exhibit opens on Friday, Nov. 22.

“It’s a wide reaching exhibition,” says Rev. Graham Golden. “With this year’s theme, we’ve gotten a diverse and provocative response. I thought the themes from previous (shows) were edgier, but this year brought out some powerful pieces.”

The exhibit will run through Dec. 13.

The art being shown is a mix of professional artists, all the way to novices.

“We have art from children that are asylum-seekers,” he says. “That’s an interesting facet of it. It’s a broad overview.”

The annual exhibit has evolved over the years, according to Golden.

Artists also can only have one piece in the exhibit, which is a change from previous years.

“There are artists on the committee now and we continue to use their input,” Golden says. “They’ve stepped up and are steering it. We also try to keep the themes broad and vague. Everything is seen through the thematic lens.”

Golden also looks forward to the call for artists because of the diversity.

“The Prayer” by Ilona Bilichak. (Courtesy of Norbertine Community Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey)

“We plant a seed and see what comes forth,” he says of the process. “Eighty percent of the artists are new. It’s the most diverse body of works that we’ve seen in a long time.”

One piece that sticks out for Golden is a piece from Juliana Coles. It features three faces – one of which looks like a skeleton. Sayings such as “Leave Behind All Dreams Drowning In My Grief Hold On To Me,” and “Crying But Mostly Praying” are plastered all over the piece.

“It’s her own journey relationship to it,” Golden says. “The expression of love and being in a world outside herself. That kind of tragedy and the interplay. It’s a provocative piece. When we were hanging the pieces, this is one that definitely stands out. It’s dynamic.”

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