Saturday, April 23, 2016


For Good Shepherd Sunday I posted an image by an artist whose work I think merits recognition because of its uniqueness, spirituality and timelessness.  I emailed him and asked him if I could do a Blog on him and his art, to which he graciously replied, yes. It was hard to choose a few images from his vast array of work,  but I present a few of my favorites.

Theotokos (Mother of God)
NIKOLA SARIC, born 1985, comes from Bajina Bašta, Serbia. In 2000, he moved to Belgrade to study at the Tehno Art School. In 2005, he began studying at the Academy of Applied Arts in art restoration and conservation. One year later, in 2006, he moved to study at the Academy of Serbian Orthodox Church for Arts and Conservation in the art fresco painting, where he graduated in 2014.
Nurtured in the practice of church art, his artistic expression is deriving from sacred Greco-Roman art and generally speaking the art of the classical antiquity and the medieval period.
St. M Magdalene 
"In his works, through the immediacy and simplicity of visual elements. he is trying to convey the intuition of a “transfigured world” and its everlasting glow, harmony and beauty. Using different techniques and materials, Nikola is trying to describe this unimaginable world. His interpretations reflect the personal spiritual experience as well as the tradition that breathes and evolves within the concepts of contemporaries." (from his web-site)
He breaks some of the traditional “rules” to create images which feel both ancient and contemporary.  “Art plays a significant role, not just in religious practice, but represents a time document about persons, events and ideas that had and will continue to have impact on people.”

I love how many of his saints have their heads bent to the side as if listening only to the Word, which is Jesus Christ.

Besides working as an independent artist, he holds mosaic courses in adult education. He also does sculpture, calligraphy, and design.  Since 2011 Nikola lives in Hannover, Germany.

One of his most powerful pieces is his Holy Martyrs of Libya. In this work 21 Christians are lined up on their knees before hooded ISIS terrorists with  drawn knives. In the middle stands Christ welcoming them into His kingdom. The men are depicted with their eyes looking to Christ, except for one who looks at us. The Coptic Orthodox church acknowledged them as new martyrs.

This icon is displayed in the exhibition at Brenkhausen Monastery in Höxter, Germany. This Medieval monastery was obtained in 1994 by the Coptic Church, and is now the monastery of the Virgin St. Mary, and is the Coptic bishop seat.
On this beautiful icon, the New Liturgical Movement wrote: Notice 
how the waves of the sea stained with the martyrs’ blood are shown around the edge of the image; Matthew Arayiga, from Ghana, who was not himself a Copt, but on witnessing the martyrs’ courage in choosing death over denial of their Christian faith, joined them in confessing Christ, and professing their faith as his own, saying “Their God is my God”, is distinct among the group on the top right. The men were killed wearing orange prisoners’ jumpsuits.  

It all started with seeing media reports about (the martyrs) which struck me immediately. Out of that grief, something creative came up. I was thinking about them, empathy and love towards them grew, and that became a corner stone of the project”, Nikloa has said..

...I think that in any tragedy there is no sense in it, but I also think that we can overcome a tragedy and see beyond the harsh reality, with another perspective or with spiritual eyes, as I would like to say. That is what I try to do in my work and in my life.”
When Nikloa looked at those men on the beach facing execution because they chose to hold to their faith, he saw the unseen. “In their minds they were with God. They prayed. Faith changed their captivity into freedom, death into life.”
Nikola saw Christ as reaching down to comfort the martyrs, even as ISIS soldiers grab each man by the hair. Every prisoner but one looks to heaven. The last prisoner looks us squarely in the eyes. Is he testing our own sorrow for such brutality? Or is he telling us not to worry as today he is with Christ?

St. Anthony of the Desert
St. Ignatius of Antioch

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