Four years ago on Christmas Day I posted a selection of nativity paintings originating mainly in non-Western cultures. Each year since then that post has ranked as one of the five most-read posts on this site, with over twelve thousand views to date. So I’ve decided to do a part 2.
My friend Scott Rayl shared a quote with me this week by S. D. Gordon: “Jesus was God spelling Himself out in language humanity could understand.” What a succinct summary of the Incarnation!
Today we celebrate the transcendent God made immanent, accessible. We celebrate his new name: Emmanuel, God-with-us. The artists here can aid us in that celebration.
Mawalan Marika (Rirratjingu/Australian, 1908-1967), Nativity, ca. 1960. Natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark, 109.5 x 33.8 cm.
First Nations of Canada:
Jackson Beardy (Oji-Cree, 1944-1984), The Nativity, 1975. Acrylic on canvas, 121.1 x 172.1 cm.
Father John Battista Giuliani (Italian American, 1932-), Nazareth. Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in.
Nativity mural at Batahola Norte Community Center, Managua, Nicaragua.
Angelo da Fonseca (Indian, 1902-1967), Nativity, 1954.
Sawai Chinnawong (Thai, 1959-), Nativity, 2002. Oil on canvas.
Lu Lan, Nativity, 1994.
Hiroshi Tabata (Japanese), Nativity, 1998.
Kim Hueng Jong (Korean, 1928-), Christmas Scene.
Le Van Dai (Vietnamese), Nativity, 1980s. Watercolor on paper.
Federico Dominguez (Filipino, 1953-), from the “Yang ya Utaw si Manggob” (When Manggob Was Born) series. Gouache on Bristol board, 12 x 12 in. Collection of Mike Luz.
Gde Sukana Kariana (Indonesian, 1974-), Nativity, 2011. Oil on canvas, 50 x 70 cm.
Father Kevin Carroll (born Britain, active Nigeria, 1920-1993), Yoruba Nativity, 1948. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in.
Contemporary Ethiopian nativity icon.
Elimo Njau (born Tanzania, active Kenya, 1932-), Nativity, 1959. Fresco, 12 x 15 ft. St. James’ Anglican Cathedral, Kiharu, Murang’a, Kenya.
Tanzanian nativity batik.
Azaria Mbatha (South African, 1941-), The Birth of Christ, 1964. Linocut, 30.4 x 54.4 cm. University of Zululand Art Gallery, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa.
(Many of the Asian artworks in this post were found through the Asian Christian Art Association website. It’s a really rich resource. Check it out!)