Artist in Residence 2016, Ebitenyefa Baralaye
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
March 7, 2016
God takes the prerogative of having a sovereign hand over what we see as good and bad, over wrath and mercy. He also operates omnipotently outside of our relativistic justifications of which things, including ourselves, exist under those judgements. He alone ordains what is deemed for glory or destruction for the purpose of magnifying his greatness in the scope of existence and our personal lives. I am fascinated by how God can be glorified in destruction and objects of wrath, prime among these being the body of Christ on the cross. I’m humbled by the fact that God chooses those things deemed condemned as the recipients of his mercy, thinking specifically of myself and the body of his church. Being a ceramicist I am drawn to the metaphor of pottery used in this scripture passage. I am familiar with the experience of making from the same material of clay a piece that gets ushered into my art portfolio and another that lands in the reclaim bucket or trash purely on the whims of my judgement for the advancement of my creative practice. The qualities that makes something worthy or condemned exists within the eye of the beholder and the hand of the maker. God’s perspective molds the state of everything’s existence. Interestingly God turns on its head the patterns that we would expect in this perspective: the first becomes the last, the least becomes the greatest, outsiders and slaves become heirs. I am starting off my commission by exploring formal metaphors of God’s inversion of grace and material embodiments of grace.
I am planning to make large twin sets of ceramic vessel/bowl forms. These will be press-molded in clay capturing the imprints of my hands and the kinetics of gesture as their texture.
My fist step is creating the armature for a model. This model will then be used to produce a plaster mold from which I will cast the clay pieces.
– The model starts off as an upside down armature; the final form will be flipped. The base armature is made of plywood and chicken wire.
– The wood and wire then gets covered with strips of burlap and plaster.
– The plaster then gets an initial covering of clay as I model the form and surface.
…And more will follow in my next post!
Follow the development of Ebitenyefa’s project by reading his second and third post as a 2016 Artist in Residence.
All materials are copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.