Wings and a Prayer

These paintings were part of an exposition held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was no ordinary exposition. For an evening the ground floor warehouse of our city residence was filled with the unconventional sound of percussion pounded out with the aid of all manner of found objects. The walls were illuminated with more than 40 prophetic paintings, the space filled with artists - Christians and non-Christians, young and old. I painted two giant wings on the exposition wall for people to try on and take photos of themselves.

The "wings" idea came to me during an afternoon's work with street kids in Buenos Aires. My eyes were opened to the true colors of humanity. As I looked at even the most dejected specimens of human kind, their eternal potential unfulted before me. I wanted to shout at everyone I passed, "You have wings! You are beautiful!"

Our vision is to redeem the arts and, through the mind-bypassing power of the artsw, serve as disciples to the nations. We are reaping more than the fuits of human ambition; we are living in the dreams of God.

As an artist my greatest desire is to open eyes to see heaven in the ordinary and God's presence with the broken. I see art as a powerful weapon. It goes straight to the heart without asking permission.

"Cardboard Man." Argentina was hit by an economic crisis in 2001 that forced even wealthy people, like bank managers, to survive by selling cardboard on the streets.

"Less than Angel is a self portrait. Sometimes the tension of living between two perfections (Eden and the New Jerusalem) weighs heavily. But God intervenes when we recognize our brokenness and allow a holy sense of dissatisfaction to push us closer to God.

"Waiting Room" reflects on C.S. Lewis' description that humans are "angels wallowing in the mud" or "mammals trying to fly." He dubbed us "spiritual amphibians."

"Eternity and the Dump" addresses God's redemptive work. God recycled us and made each us into a work of art.

Emily Russell is a Welsh artist living in Buenos Aires as part of an arts group formed through Youth With A Mission/Argentia. To learn more about her work, email her at

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