Spirit of Art Festival
Spirit of Art / Art of Spirit: A Collection of Events Celebrating the Sacred Nature of Creativity. Two-Weeks of exhibitions, talks, readings and practical workshops to be held between 24th August and 30 September 2019.
EarthDiverse, Artmakers Trust and the Waikato Interfaith Council are pleased to announce a a series of talks, readings, practical workshops and an ongoing exhibition devoted to the theme of Art and Spirituality to be held between 24th August and 30 September. Event venues: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato; Artmakers Trust, 2 Seddon Street, Hamilton.
Through the arts, poetry, music and architecture, religious traditions around the world have communicated their most important values and organised their cultural life. Many contemporary artists also engage with religious narratives and ideas in a critical or affirmative way. Some see creativity and enthusiasm as forms of a spiritual existence: if the divine is involved in the creation of the world, artists are, as it were, co-creators.
The grand religious narratives continue to strongly influence contemporary culture.. That is why a multi faith group in the Waikato has decided to explore the relationship between art, spirituality, and academic/political discourse. Through an art exhibition at Lady Goodfellow Chapel, and public talks, discussions and workshops, we aim at bringing together art makers and art lovers to explore the connections between art and spirituality.
Specific “Spirit of Art, Art of Spirit” events, workshops and talks:
All events are free and open to the public!
Friday 23 August, 6:00-8:00pm: planning meeting for Exhibitors of their art work. All those interested in exhibiting their art work are required to attend this meeting. This is a planning meeting only. To be held at Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.
Saturday 24 August, 2:00-6:00pm: Poetry Workshop: our opening event. Event organisers: Norman Franke and Carrie Barber. If you wish to participate in this event, please contact Norman at
Friday 30 August, 6:30-9:30pm: Spirit of Art/Art of Spirit Opening Event and Exhibition: Opening remarks: Dr Norman Franke. Participants & Exhibitors: Norman Franke, Peter Dornauf, Sylvie Rabinovitch-Bolstad (digital stories), Tina Das (painting), Brice Herbert (flower arrangements), Geoffrey Irving (wood sculpture), Andrew McKean (photography), Elske Reyneke Barnard (visual arts), Victoria Miles (icons/paintings), and others. For more information, please contact us at info @ earthdiverse.org.nz. Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton. The Art Exhibition will continue during regular opening hours through to the end of September.
Saturday 7 September, 10:00am-2:00pm: ‘Spirit of Art’ Art Workshop’: create art along the theme of art and spirituality with Artmakers Trust. Led by Sylvie Bolstad and Tina Das. Times: 10:00-2:00pm (to be confirmed). This event may incur some materials cost. Additional details forthcoming. To register for this practical art workshop, please contact Artmakers Trust at 021 991 576 or by email at
Saturday 7 September, 6:30-9:30pm: Performance evening: Religion, Spirituality and the Art of Performance: Performances include: Shailaja Ravi Kumar and Nishtha Singh (Bharatnatyam dance), Burty Bedeux (piano) and Peter Minor (Clarinet), Scotty Cranwell (Guitar), and the Waikato Interfaith Choir. Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.
Saturday 7 September, 10:00am-2:00pm: Spirit of Art Workshopfollow-up: create art along the theme of art and spirituality with Artmakers Trust. Led by Sylvie Bolstad and Tina Das. Times: 10:00-2:00pm (to be confirmed). This event is the follow up event to the earlier practical art workshop on 7th September. This workshop may incur some materials cost. Additional details forthcoming. To register for this, and the earlier practical art workshop, please contact Artmakers Trust at 021 991 576 or by email at
Monday 9 September, 7:00-9:00pm: Speaker Series: “Image and Iconography: a Comparative Exploration of Art & Religion in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism” by Todd Nachowitz, PhD.Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.
Monday 16 September, 7:00-9:00pm: Speaker Series: “Pure Abstract Pictorial Art for Theology Across Religious Borders,” with Dr. Christopher Longhurst, Lecturer in Theology, The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand, Wellington. Abstract: Interfaith dialogue can benefit immensely from comparative theology. This talk demonstrates the use of non-figural abstract pictorial art (pure abstract art). After defining the art type in question, the subject-matter-based approach to comparative theology of comparativist Robert Cummings Neville is taken up and applied to pictorial form (meaning made visible) and pictorial content (what is in the painting). Neville describes the subject matter of comparative theology as “religious and theological ideas that fall under comparative categories.” Various artworks are presented as capable of expressing these ideas from different religious traditions across religious categories, that is, the artworks underscore Neville’s description of comparative theological subject matter in visual pictorial imagery. How this art functions as illustrative medium for the intersection of comparable religious ideas will evidence an interfaith aspect of comparative theology. Master artworks under consideration are from the pictorial genres of American abstract expressionism, Russian avant-garde, and newcomers to the post-secular abstract pictorial art scene. Examples of theological ideas shared across religious borders are Hinduism’s moksha (liberation), Islam’s wahdat al-wujud (Unity of Being), Asma al-husna (Beautiful names of Allah), Christianity’s divine attributes, Judaism’s echad (Divine Oneness) and Ein-Sof (Endless One), Shih-t’ao’s i-hua (one-stroke), and the Upanishad’s Soham (I am That IS), among others. Conclusions reached indicate that abstract non-figural pictorial art can serve as a tool for interreligious dialogue by exhibiting similar theological topics in diverse religious traditions, that is, Neville’s common ground of comparative theology. Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.
Saturday 21 September, 7:00-9:30 pm: Poetry Reading: Participants: Norman Franke, Carrie Barber, Anjum Rahman, Peter Dornauf, Maryana Garcia. If you are interested in participating, please contact Norman at
Monday 23 September, 7:00-9:00pm: Speaker Series: “Spirituality and Modern Art” by Peter Dornauf, Artist and Art Historian. Many people think that ‘religious’ paintings, (or works of art with some spiritual inclination), ceased with the advent of modern art.
That is far from the truth. The secular age saw a hunger for meaning as Christianity began to lose its hold, especially with the intellectual set. This lecture will traverse that historical narrative (1860 – 2019), examining art works that exemplify, in subtle ways, the spiritual impulse. Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.
Monday 30 September, 7:00-9:00pm: Speaker Series: “Religion as Art” by Norman Franke, PhD. Event location: Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.