This post is written by a member of the Messianic community in Israel or guest contributor. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Kehila News Israel.

Bridging Israel, Singapore and the nations through art

The Singapore Bible Society and The Embassy of Israel in Singapore jointly organize Colours of the Bible on an annual basis, an art competition and exhibition that celebrates the beauty, culture and history of the Bible and the land of Israel.

Held in Singapore since 2014, the fourth edition, themed Families in the Bible, saw more than 150 entries from Singapore, Israel, Myanmar, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“Colours of the Bible encourages and promotes cultural exchanges between our two countries,” Liat Lazimi Levi, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Singapore said in the exhibition booklet. “There is a deeper correlation between art and religion. Art and scripture offer different perspectives of our history and historical events. More importantly, they teach us to follow the right direction as we face life’s many challenges.”

During my visit to the exhibition held at Capitol Piazza in Singapore earlier this month, I was not only impressed by the variety and quality of the exhibits, but also the fact that we can freely express and present the Word, biblical and Jewish culture in Singapore. What I saw through this cultural exchange was a bridge between Singapore, the nations and Israel: an art bridge that connects believers around the world to Israel.

“I was amazed by the creativity and giftings that God has given our younger generation. The Lord is raising up a generation that loves Him and share the Good News through the world of art,” said Cheryl Yeo, a Singaporean who visited the exhibition.

One of the entries from Israel was from Alma Frank who submitted a plastelina art piece in the 7-years-and-under category. Alma entitled her piece Miriam, Yosef and Yeshua Family and said of her entry “we work a lot with plasticine, it is like a hobby. It was very exciting for me to create a depiction of Yeshua’s family.” This and other entries from Israel helped me make a connection to the Jewish community in Israel even though I’ve never met them before.

“Miriam, Yosef and Yeshua Family” by Alma Frank from Israel.
“Miriam, Yosef and Yeshua Family” by Alma Frank from Israel.

Another piece that caught my attention was 12-year old Wang Yong Wei’s piece that received a special mention award. His piece – Families with a Mission – was depicted through the use of acryllic.

In his description of his piece Yong Wei writes “At the center of the Bible is God’s love manifested by families who chose to be obedient to God to fulfill His primary mission – to bring salvation to mankind. This painting uses abstract stained glass art and potrays Jesus’ earthly family as the key exhibition of God in flesh and living amongst us. God’s love for us is also exhibited in various families in the Bible, such as Noah’s and Abraham’s, as they fulfilled their missions.”

When exploring the Colours of the Bible Facebook page, I discovered that this piece was created by a child with autism. That made it even more special. In the post, several people commended Yong Wei’s piece: Evelyn Tan said of his work: “Awesome work! Praise God for this austistic child that he may glorify God with his talent! All things work for the good of those who love Him.” Patrick Khoo commented “Excellent painting! The boy is gifted!” Kenn Tay added, “Awesome idea and drawing!”

Another special mention was from the open category. Ashwini Marie Mathews from Singapore depicted Mary and Elizabeth’s pregnancies on canting batik on cotton. In her description of her piece entitled Sisters-in-Arms, Ashwini said she tried to depict the touching intimacy  between the cousins as they shared the joy and emotion of the news of their pregnancies, as well as any secret fears they might have felt since the circumstances of both pregnancies were unusual, special and potentially controversial. She suggested that the two women would have comforted and reassured one another, reminding themselves that God was in charge.

"Sisters-in-Arms” by Ashwini Marie Mathews from Singapore
“Sisters-in-Arms” by Ashwini Marie Mathews from Singapore

The winning piece in the open category for this year’s competition was by Lim Nyuk Shan from Singapore. Entitled For The Grace of God Has Appeared, the piece was done in acrylic on canvas. Chun Nam Leong, a reader of the Colours of the Bible facebook page, posted the following comment on Nyuk Shan’s piece: “The joy on the father’s face says it all. The Lord is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9”. Leong Chun Chong commented, “Strong portrayal of the joy of a father when a son repents.”

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In his published exhibition welcome message Rev Ezekiel Tan, general secretary of The Bible Society of Singapore said, “We are very grateful for the continued collaboration with our partner, the Embassy of Israel in Singapore, who brings a special and important cultural exchange to Colours of the Bible.”

He said that the basic unit of society, the family, is clearly seen in God’s Word and that the art pieces at this year’s competition and exhibition highlighted the many biblical narratives traced through family lines. He added that believers of Jesus Christ are also called “children of God” who are to maintain healthy family relationships.

To participate in next year’s Colours of the Bible art competition and exhibition and be part of an art bridge that connects the nations to Israel, stay tuned through Colours of the Bible’s website and facebook page. For more details, get in touch with The Bible Society of Singapore via email at colours@bible.org.sg or visit them at 7 Armenian Street, Singapore. If you are in Israel, get in touch with The Bible Society in Israel, email them at info@bsisrael.com or visit them at 17 Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, Israel.

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Julie Samuel
Julie Samuel is a gentile believer who resides in Singapore. She actively serves in the local body of Christ and tries to go on at least one short-term mission trip a year. When not serving or travelling, she enjoys hybernating at home with a book, a cuppa and her dog, Mr Dober.

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