Drawing Closer to God through Art
Sacred icons written by Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild's (ESAG) executive member Christine Lim-Labossiere were featured as part of a Port Moody Arts Centre exhibition, ''Learn, Create, Live", held from July 20 to August 17, 2017. The artist is encouraged that her sacred artwork was showcased along with others in a general setting. "The exhibition provided me with the opportunity to speak about the art of iconography to visitors who may never have been exposed to sacred art in the past." She was surprised that it generated a great deal of interest.
About 3 years ago, Christine was no where near a paint brush. After more than 25 years in the media industry, she gave up her event organization company Merging Media Productions, to devote herself full-time to sacred art. Her love affair with Eastern Orthodox iconography began more than a decade ago while visiting churches and museums in Russia, but it was only recently that she decided to study it seriously, as part of her efforts to draw closer to her faith.
"I felt that I needed to spend my time doing something more meaningful than what I was doing at work; organizing events and conferences. I had decided to look for an instructor locally, when I met Frank Turner at an ESAG exhibition. Turns out that his studio is just 5 minutes away from where I live!"
Believing that this was not just a coincidence, Christine took a sabbatical off work to study with Frank, one of BC's most respected Iconographers. A summer retreat at the Iconographic Arts Institute at a Benedictine monastery in Portland, Oregon followed. It proved to be a baptism of fire; providing her with a deeper foundation that allowed her to listen to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit. "Attending the retreat was an eye opener and an intensely inspiring spiritual experience. I was moved by the devotion of the instructors and students alike, Iconographers who came from all across North America to hone their skills. I knew that I couldn't go back to work upon my return."
Fond memories from the Iconographic Arts Institute retreat in Portland — with instructors Mary Katsilometes (centre) and Kathy Sievers.
Christine walked away from her job as CEO of Merging Media and has not looked back since. She tries to devote 3-4 hours each week day on her artwork and doing research on sacred art in her basement studio in Port Moody. During her free time, she helps the Guild as their Webmaster and Head of Publicity. "I have so much more to learn, but my journey has been inspiring because I find each step brings me closer to God, it helps build my faith. I often pray for the person I am writing an icon for. It can be a powerful yet peaceful experience."
Escape Into Egypt, a Coptic Icon in egg tempera & 23K gold leaf, was one of her pieces on display at the Port Moody exhibition
She has recently completed a contemporary icon of "The Nativity of Christ" and is starting work on the "Baptism of Christ" as part of her personal 'Christology' project - to try to trace the life of Christ through her art. Christine has participated in a few exhibitions since her departure from her job and will be heavily involved in ESAG's 15th Anniversary Exhibition to be held at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre in October 2018.
Christine's most recent work - a contemporary icon of the Nativity of Christ, completed this month.
As ESAG's Head of Publicity, Christine wants to encourage other creative Catholics to be part of this exhibition, "We'll be announcing our call for submissions for our 2018 exhibition in September, so if you're a painter, sculptor or any other type of sacred artist, do sign up for our newsletter at www.epiphanysacredarts.com or contact Steve Knight, ESAG's President at email@example.com for more details." Application forms can be downloaded HERE.
The Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild is a society of artists and associates promoting the practice and appreciation of sacred arts as defined by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Meetings are held monthly on the second Saturday of the month, from September to May.