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The Art of Forgiveness: Understanding Hurt, Hope and the Healing Journey


The Art of Forgiveness:

Understanding Hurt, Hope and the Healing Journey

A two-part multi-disciplinary program inspired by Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Panel Discussion on Forgiveness

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm ETC Lobby

Fr. Mark Hunt …. Spiritual Perspectives

Dr. Michele Muni …Restorative Justice

Dr. Jim Huber ….Marriage & Family Therapy

National Juried Art Exhibit on Forgiveness and Artist Reception

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Holy Family University Art Gallery

Selected artists

Robert Thurlow, Charlesey Charlton-McCallister, Lisa DeLoria Weinblatt, John Wood, Aaron T Stephens, Ed Smith, Dorothea Osborn, Colleen Sweeney Gahrmann, Marilyn Rodriguez Michael Wartgow,  Leila Hernandez


Aaron T Stephens

aaronstephensA life of Sin series was created to express my problems as a Christian. I commit acts that are against my Religion and my own beliefs. This image expresses how I feel every time I pray for forgiveness of those acts.

Charlesey Charlton-McCallistercharleseymccallisterThis piece of work is about the ability to forgive a spouse or significant other after the act of infidelity. Forgiveness is a process like the journey a baby makes from crawling to walking. According to a study from 2010, the most common type of unforgivable offense is betrayal, including affairs, deceit, broken promises, and broken secrets (see source below). This  art work asks the viewer to ponder the meaning of a past betrayal and to ask the hard question of “how does one begin to forgive, when the betrayal itself is/was so personal?”

Colleen Sweeney GahrmanncolleengahrmannWe All Fall Down, part of a larger installment titled Restorative Justice, hints at the responsibility of a society that has a stake in its youth, even those of incarcerated parents. It brings an awareness of the feelings and issues surrounding the children affected by the crimes and punishments of their guardians.  Statements by children of incarcerated parents are often filled with incriminations, confusion and conflicts.  When forgiveness becomes an ongoing process it helps to restore family relationships.

Dorothea OsborndorotheaosburnThe art of forgiveness is a road. An intimate road of change and it’s a process, sometimes lengthy, sometimes surprisingly expedient.  It is a change within ourselves, on more than a cellular level. It is an acknowledgment and acceptance in its finality. Forgiveness does not suppress or ignore the pain. It deals with it on a spiritual and cellular level. These pieces are from a series of graphite and colored pencil that deal with the human condition and change on a cellular level. The progression of Forgiveness takes time and creates change. It means letting go, albeit, keeping others in our heart. As each of these pieces was produced, a daily personal and spiritual time was given to each segment of the individual pieces. Time and change is evident in all three pieces.

Ed SmithedsmithThe work submitted are images in metaphorical form depicting the act of forgiving, specifically with regard to the events of 9/11. And while the hope is that the understanding and internalization of these events can bring peace it also suggests we not bow to forces along the journey of healing. The etchings are intimate and demand a close attention focusing on the personal nature of the tragedy and forcing the viewer to be open within the reading of the images.

John WoodjohnwoodThe works in this series respond to a common theme: the journey from doubt to faith.   I have explored the theme by responding to the story of St. Thomas from John 20: 19-31, and a contemporary poem by Francine j. Harris entitled “another finger for the wound.”   Through the ekphrastic process of reflecting upon text through visual art, I invite confrontations to my interpretations of ancient themes and modern interpretations. Another Finger for the Wound explores the moment, from the Gospel of John 20: 27-29, in which Christ exposes his wound by lifting his robe for Thomas.  The human qualities of flesh and hair seen on the hand of Christ in the sculpture are contrasted with abstracted images on the opposite side of his hand.  The palm contains patterns of human figures and text from the poem by Francine J. Harris.

Leila HernandezleilahernandezSquaring the Circle talks about change. It is transformation- a square that is composed of circles which are interconnected through threads; like our brain cells, our body, our friends, the world, the universe; each one influencing the other. The red symbolizes life that can be full of passion, good or bad, and it can be lived in an intense manner, which of course is best if we change the negative into a positive. The blue flowers bring tranquility; the green leaves symbolize growth in a sparking manner which relates to the gold which is scattered through our lifetime making our total experience golden during our lifetime. Mandalas have engaged the artist during the production as to absorb the mind in such a way that distracting thoughts produced by anger and sorrow from damages that have affected the stability of her life in many areas are slowly replaced by a feeling of well being. The artist has experienced many hardships that invoke the need for forgiveness since it is well known that it is imperative to forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions.

Lisa DeLoria WeinblattlisadeloriaweinblattI use the vocabulary of daily life and historical reference to inform the content of the MAN/WOMAN painting series.  The image in this painting investigates the interactions of interpersonal relationships within a time- frame.

The myriad pressures of modern life often impact the relationships that we hold close to our being.  The ability to forgive and ‘open the door’ to another solution/ way of thinking, is vital to forgiveness.

In Man/Woman 3, portraying part of a series of life events, I incorporated the biblical symbol of the snake, literally her vanity, in which she is in front of, the salvation of the bird, flying to new territory/heights and the pear on the dresser, the fruit of both good and of the fallen.

Marilyn RodriguezmarilynrodriguezMy name is Marilyn Rodriguez; I am a Latina (mixed medium) community artist.

My art comes from my environment and my community (North Philadelphia), it is where I take my inspiration. Much of my paintings and drawings manifest through unconventional materials like paper bags and other found objects. The materials are often chosen to fit within the context of the subjects.

My works reference lost souls that walk amongst us and the constant flux of their mental health illness, drug addictions, and social handicaps. These individuals roam the streets with uncertain futures and become the forgotten people unable to assimilate to their environment and society. They seek a window to find forgiveness for themselves and for the people they have wounded. The work(s) I create are to show awareness of what happens in the journey for peace and a sign of forgiveness.

Michael WartgowmichaelwartgowPresented as both a psychological concept and a virtue, my work discusses forgiveness through various states of transition. It is about looking for forgiveness in yourself and the need to find some sort of divine forgiveness in order to understand purpose. Through the use of symbols and dreamlike imagery, my work places emphasis on an individual’s path to forgiveness yet speaks to a larger universal idea about reconciliation.

Robert ThurlowrobertthurlowHoly Suffering Saints

This image speaks to the redemptive quality of suffering and the healing power of forgiveness. Although the action and process of forgiveness is difficult it is this difficulty that gives us strength, humility, and transforms us into saints. The chaotic handwritten script is taken from a 1930’s journal my grandmother kept and is meant to echo the struggle and effort required to forgive.

From the Exhibit Opening:



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