Let me start off by saying this is the resounding anthem of any Freedom fighter who seeks Christ’s kingdom.
You may not see me marching on the streets, although that could definitely happen some day, but you will see me standing at my easel with my paintbrush in my hand. My heart and prayer over the last decade of my life has been to use the gift of art to the glory of God and the blessing of people.
Crystal, our husbands, and I, got to dreaming one night after dinner and coffee. Our dream was to take our gifts and passions and put them into motion. We both have a passion for justice and a responsibility to fight on behalf of the oppressed. My art is only one tool in the toolbox of ways we connect people to the global injustice of modern slavery, but the important thing is that it’s my tool, and I am putting it to use.
As I looked for inspiration for this particular piece of art, I spent time thinking about the phrase, “ashes to beauty.” What does that look like? For boys and girls, men and women, in slavery, I hope it means they gain freedom and restoration for all that they have lost and suffered.
What I really wanted to communicate through this painting was that our dross can and will be turned to gold by the love of God.
There is a perfect quote from Matt De La Peña’s book, Last Stop on Market Street, that puts words to the painting, “Sometimes when you are surrounded by dirt…you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”
As an artist and collaborator with All of Us Matter, it was very important to Crystal, and to me to bring a visual reminder to you all that Isaiah 61 is what this mission is about: Hope, transformation, and beauty.
I wanted to represent the marginalized and passed over. I wanted to take something that would be mundane and common like dumping a bucket full of ash from a cooking fire and turn it into something beautiful, and the beauty is; He can turn something common into the uncommon, and bring richness to a dead life.
This painting is really very simple. It’s the promise of God to everyone. He promises to transform our grey into gold.