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Art and Religion

Coral Sabino ’13 painted an abstract piece during a recent Chapel service.

Coral Sabino ’13 has never painted publicly before, but School Minister Bob Flanagan doesn’t think yesterday’s inaugural venture will be her last. During Chapel on Wednesday, Coral stood in front of the campus community and painted an abstract piece inspired by service’s reading, a passage from Luke’s Gospel about the Good Samaritan, and Flanagan’s sermon on love.

“I'm so proud of Coral's work. It is no easy task to create a work of art in public. A wonderful presence of mind and nerves of steel,” Flanagan said. “My hope is that an artist and I will be able to make similar presentations each year. It would be a great annual tradition. I very much like that this showcases one of our best student artists.”

Flanagan previously heard of another church inviting an artist to its services and decided to run with the idea. He approached Chair of the Arts Department Amy Graham, who handpicked Coral for the job. Flanagan noted that the piece would make a wonderful addition to the Chapel’s collection, but also hopes the school will showcase the work in various locations around campus.

“I liked the idea because it ties in well with the concept of multiple learning styles,” Flanagan said. “The auditory presentation of my address combined with Coral's visual interpretation provided the community with a deeper understanding of the parable of the Good Samaritan than would be made with one learning approach.”

As Coral was aware of the service’s focus in advance, she did some brainstorming on whether to go more representational or more abstract. She also contemplated the level of detail, as well as the clarity of the piece. But in the moment, surrounded by an arsenal of paints, charcoals, pencils and even tape, Coral decided which mediums she would use. In fact, she made all her final decisions while listening to the reading and address with the rest of the community.

“While I was there, I was listening to the service. But I did fade in and out, focusing more on my painting,” Coral noted. “Having people watch me work didn’t affect me too much. I did have another student hold up his hand for me to copy, which was nice to have that interaction. But when I get focused, I stay focused.”

Check out the video above to hear Coral discuss her work, as well as complete the painting through time lapsed photos. To read Flanagan’s entire sermon on love, please click HERE. And look below for yesterday’s reading.

Reading | Luke 10:26-39
Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved to pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’