Duke Chapel is partnering with Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) to host Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe, a series of fifty stencil prints on biblical themes by Japan's foremost Christian artist Sadao Watanabe (1913-1996). The art will be displayed at Duke University Chapel from January 9 through Feb. 21, 2018.
A community reception will be held at 7:00 p.m. February 15, 2018 in the Chapel's narthex (entryway). Lisa Beyeler, a Duke Divinity student and scholar with Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts, will give a talk on "Watanabe and the Japanese Folk Art Movement." Light refreshments will be served. All are invited to the Choral Vespers service at 6:00 p.m. preceding the community reception.
Interested in communicating his Christian beliefs to other Japanese, Watanabe translated biblical narratives into Japanese settings using the traditional Japanese folk art of katazome stencil dying. The resulting body of art is revered as a valuable contribution to the history of Christian art, and his prints are in many international collections including the Vatican Museum, National Galleries in Washington, DC, and London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. Watanabe's fame notwithstanding, the artist's chief desire was to create art that could be displayed in ordinary settings and was accessible to a wide audience.