Uncategorized — July 24, 2015 at 12:12 am

The Church becomes Art Gallery and the Pastor a curator…

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Church as Gallery -2 Church as Gallery- 1

Published by Nehemiah H. Brown · July 16 at 12:06pm ·

The World as Art Gallery is metaphorically painted in the ageless protestant hymn, “ How Great Thou Art”, a Swedish melody with words by Carl Gustav Boberg. Translated, “ O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds, thy hands have made. I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder. Thy power throughout the universe displayed” In this hymn the Creator’s pastoral beauty is skillfully mastered and viewed after a thunderstorm.

In the churches of Florence, we are accustomed to viewing the religious art renderings of Brunelleschi, Giotto, Michelangelo and many other western art masters. However, for the first time in Florence the Church becomes literally the center, a Gallery for the Cultural and Artistic life of it’s community. Finally, one can enter and admire the classical alfresco on the ceiling integrated, on the walls, with the works of Pr. Adetomiwa A. Gbadebo, created during the Artist in Residence Project of African, African American and Art of the African Diaspora to sounds of Gospel music. This is A-FREE-CA, created in Florence by Architect, Artistic Director Eusebio De Cristofaro and Pastor of the Florence Gospel Fellowship International and Director of the Florence Gospel Choir School, Nehemiah H. Brown.

The paintings of Pr. Adetomiwa A. Gbedebo, the first painter for Project A-FREE-CA, were introduced at the standing room only, Artist in Residence Finale featuring the soulful music of The Celebration Gospel Choir in an Art Performance at The Methodist Church in via De’ Benci 9, on June 29. They have been exhibited exclusively there, allowing the public to dialogue and share with the creator in “ Artist Talks.”

Unlike most Western Art, where the divide between the sacred and secular is evident, the dividing line in African Art is seamless. In his art interview, painter, Pr. Adetomiwa A. Gbadebe shares his divine inspiration, his celestial balance and equilibrium of body, mind, music of the soul and spirit. During the interview, Professor and art critic Awam Amkpa, a specialist in Africana Studies, inquires of the painter, “ What music do you hear when you are painting?” He responds that his paintings are alive with color, symbols and splendor of his home in Nigeria. At least for the Finale, the music was by his request, Gospel, as the choir’s high praises inspired the painters’s final work in an “Amazing Grace Art Performance.”

Project A-FREE-CA is the continuation of a journey begun many years ago, thanks to the vision and work of the Artistic Director, Pastor of the Florence Gospel Fellowship International and Director of the Florence Gospel Choir School. FGCS is the only school of music and African American culture in Italy. It has brought artists and projects from various disciplines such as film, music, theater, painting and others from the performing and visual arts world to the city of Florence. FGCS has declared “carpe diem”,seizing this moment of awareness and interest in artists from the African, African American and African Diaspora to continue our journey toward the future connecting eastern and western cultures in the Florentine communit

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