We Are the World:
Death of the Japanese Translator of the Satanic Verses-July 13, 1991

A Painting by Mark DeRaud

Japanese Translator of Rushdie Book Found Slain  By STEVEN R. WEISMAN

TOKYO, July 12, 1991 — The Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses,” by Salman Rushdie, was found slain today at a university northeast of Tokyo.

"Art work by Mark DeRaud"

We Are the World: Death of the Japanese Translator of the 'Satanic Verses.

I thought Michael Jackson’s ode to peace through multiculturalism (written with Lionel Ritchie in 1985) was painfully and dangerously naïve from the very moment it was recorded. While we in the U.S. were singing songs of togetherness, National Review (the magazine) was reporting on the brewing hot bed of Islamic unrest in the Mideast (around the mid-eighties).

“Peace, peace”, I thought, “But there will be no peace.”

Recently, 25 years later, in a speech this Feb 5, 2011, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron joined with Germany’s Angela Merkel, in finally pronouncing state sponsored multiculturalism dead and a miserable failure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994

Background Story

The Japanese translator’s assassination was a small story, barely enough to warrant a glance back in 1991. The Japanese translator and other translators had been viciously attacked for “no apparent reason.” Regarding another attack on an Italian translator,” The Milan police have made no arrests and offered no theory on the attacker.”

http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/04/18/specials/rushdie-translator.html

Here is a report:

The police reported that a janitor had found the body of Mr. Igarashi near an elevator on the seventh floor of the building with slash wounds on his neck, face and hands. They said an autopsy showed that he died between 10 P.M. on Thursday and 2 A.M. today.

Back then we weren’t all that worried about the Mideast and radical Islam. Even though we had witnessed the Iranian takeover by the Ayatollah Khomeini we regarded him as a guy renowned for his wisdom on how to manage “horse sweat”.

Khomeini had issued a fatwa against the author of “The Satanic Verses.”I think we saw it largely as an unfortunate, but largely personal issue, for the author Salomon Rushdie. We did not see it as the precursor to the demise of Western ideals of humanity’s innate kindness, an idea one needs to entertain in order to be a robust multi-culturalist.

About The Painting

In the painting, created months after the 1991 report, I depict the attacker, posed as an animalistic gorilla, staring at us as if to say, “You’re next!”

The animal pose asserts our fallen animal nature as a swipe against Western European and American notions that man is, by nature, not fallen, but good.

I wanted to depict the violence without being gruesome. I came up with the idea of portraying the unfortunate Mr. Igarashi in a garish pose, such as found among the mounds of stiffly contorted piles of bodies discovered in the WWII Jewish concentration camps.

The translator holds a pen while lying, bleeding on top of his papers. The pen, is it mightier than the sword? Or is that another comforting Western fantasy?

My palette, of primary colors and a complementary color scheme (using colors opposite on the color wheel) plus dramatic light were employed to heighten the sense of drama so that I would not have to rely on depicting Hollywood slasher wounds to give the impact I wanted.

I am frequently confronted with folks who assume that Christian art equals children’s art. I suppose my position on the matter speaks for itself.

Be Inspired.

(The painting is owned by Tim and Leticia Patty.)

How Her Inspired Poem Healed a Woman’s Deep Wound and Prepared Her for Difficulty

Summary:

  • A lesson on overcoming blocks to creative exploration.
  • Creativity as an exercise of personal devotion.
  • Inspiration and sweat.

I suppose the blank page to be one of the more intimidating, albeit benign, non-dangerous, presences in our lives. A blank page, whether screen, paper, canvas, stage or score manuscript, does not sit in front of you quietly. It immediately demands to be filled and be filled with your disorganized, unskilled thoughts.

If you  suppose you have nothing to say, you’ll banish the blank page, you’ll put it away, then carry it around inside you like it was a gnawing, unanswered request for important documentation.

You may, imperceptibly to yourself, resolve that your failure to create threatens to expose a deeper secret, like maybe you’re not very good and you’re not very good because you didn’t try very hard or if you tried hard and still failed, which you probably will, then you would lose all hope and losing hope would be worse than not trying at all.

And anyway, why bother to try, let alone try very hard, because nobody cares, no one will see it, it wasn’t very important and who cares anyway what you think and feel?

And so the years go by.

The rule of thumb for mastery of an art, so that strangers travel to see it, is 10,000 hours of effort. Not one hour of effort repeated 10,000 times, but 10,000 hours of progressive, skill-building effort.

The rule of thumb for inspiration, of such compelling import, so that you could even impact  other people’s lives, is a few heart beats.

I’ll repeat that. Inspiration. A few heart beats.

A woman, a mom and wife doing the dishes, using the time to practice the presence of God, realizes a poem is coursing through her heart and mind. She decides the dishes could wait and writes down this wonderful ode, as if by dictation.

The poem is about the Father’s love for a babe in the womb. She realizes she is the babe. Mom had been conceived in rape, unwanted even as she was safely developing, the rejection still present in her maturity.

The poem given, is spiritually healing. The poem was also preparation.

Her story is so powerful, I tell it now, seven years after the event.

She would later be abandoned by her husband.

You probably can’t imagine setting out to commit to 10,000 hours of strenuous practice. But I suspect you’ve already committed to more than that in your pursuit of God. Be alert. Be mindful. You just might, in a few heart beats, be gifted with a breath of compelling genius.

Be Inspired.

Aly Voth singing her original song at the Launch on January 28th

Our first Art ‘n Soul night was more defining than we ever imagined.

 

Christopher Columbus failed.

He set out to find the East Indies and wasted his time discovering America.

Undoubtedly, there were those on board his ship who, disappointed, tugged on Christopher’s toga and demanded, “This ain’t the East Indies. Let’s rest, then get out of here.”

Friday night’s Art n’ Soul was wildly successful, but not exactly for the reasons we set out to find. That can be the nature of discovery. You plan on finding one destination only to discover another.

We, like other people, were having difficulty understanding our event. It wasn’t exactly quite a coffee house gig. It wasn’t church….but kinda was. It wasn’t exactly an art’s conference or club.

Our Evangelicals, who wanted a seeker friendly venue, would understandably be tempted to dismiss it as too religious. Those who believe our rowdy Neo-Pentecostal by-way-of-Bethel-Church-in-Redding is what the world is waiting for, may have been disappointed too, as not spiritual enough. Traditional Evangelicals might grump that there was too much entertaining and not enough teaching.

However, when you bump into an unexpected and impressive land mass, one does feel compelled to “name it and claim it”. Our first event drew, we believe, between 80 and 100 people with standing room only. There’s a lot of church planting pastors who would like to know how THAT happened. The dominate, one word we have heard to describe the night was….AWESOME.

How can you get to “awesome” out of a night of a gathering of amateurs performing their original songs and poems? How do you get to “awesome” showing newly developing art skills, telling stories, through nervous voices, letting slip an occasional “hell” and “damn!”?

The Western European arts tradition does not have a category for what we experienced. The CHURCH does Not have a category for it either. But the Third World does.

The Western European Tradition (WET), including our churches, assume it is our delight to passively observe perfection in performance, whether dance or sermon.

The Third World Model (TWM) is Tribal. The arts are meant primarily for group participation, for the strengthening of bonds within the community and much less about performance, let alone perfection.

This is the great land mass I believe we have bumped into. Like America’s first discovery, it is primitive. In us, it is primal, visceral, intuitive. Its the antidote to our collective isolation. We have discovered the first-fruits of authentic community, buried under the detritus of urban sophistication.

I believe we inadvertently have had a “Tribal In-Gathering”. This is Wendy’s and my preliminary name for what we all have discovered.

What is Art n’ Soul? Its an “In-Gathering” or “Gathering”. It’s neither a business nor an academic model. It’s like we’re from tribes, coming together to set aside our differences to bond in our common identities, through stories, song, images, poems and dance.

I personally feel the power of this notion, for it gives clarity to the pain that I and other creatives have felt all these years in relation to our church.

The worst thing that can happen to a tribal member is to be banished from participating in the Tribe. To be banished is to face certain death. You become a non-person or less of a person.

Our creativity testifies that we genetically inherited a dominant characteristic of God the Father, who created a world that was not just functional but beautiful as well.

Our churches, the dominant tribe, has banished or dismissed that portion of our humanity. And we feel it. It is not just the dismissal of our creative gift it is the dismissal of our story that inspires the art. Neither our art nor our story is important to the tribe. There is only the pastor with his books.

Articulate in Bible. Illiterate in “living Epistles.”

Now there is a place that doesn’t just condescendingly ‘honor’ God’s creative gifts, but sees it as vital to the functioning and survival of the tribe….because that’s how tribes thrive, by the sharing of story through the creative impulse of the community.

So when two teenagers, a 16 year old girl and a young man of 17, brought us their original songs (as separate presentations), including a young song of love lost, tied to his real and present experience, we identified with them. We identified with his vulnerability. We identified with their parents and their hopes for their sensitive children. We became more tribal.

Welcome to a new land. Let’s see what happens.

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO ART ‘N SOUL’S NEW BLOG SITE!

This is a place to visit if and when….

  • you want to find out what is current for Art ‘n Soul
  • you want to be inspired
  • you want to listen to podcasts or view videos about ideas relating to art and Christian spirituality
  • you want to post or need a gallery to show your work
  • you want to link to our forum and discuss topics relating to Art ‘n Soul’s mission

Art ‘n Soul Phase 2 is being launched on Friday night, January 28, 2011!

Go to the Events page above to get the details, and if you’re interested in performing for future events, check out the criteria.

If you are a part of Art ‘n Soul or want to be involved, please send us your link so we can add you, or if you want to suggest links, let us know. If you like to write and want to share your thoughts with other artists, consider writing for this blog as a guest blogger. We are still in process and under construction and are open for suggestions, criticisms and encouragement from you all.

Wendy & the Art ‘n Soul Blogging Team

 

"Prayer Power and the Kingdom of God"

The Power of Prayer rests on Intimacy with God

 

Stay tuned to this site.

Coming soon: Posts from Mark DeRaud, Wendy DeRaud, Carli Morgan,

Kim Bagato, Jessica Hume, and more.