So of course, we were thrilled to be approached by professor and artist Christopher Nadaskay about a project he had in mind, and his desire to use his gifts to benefit our work at Advance Memphis.
Last year, Prof. Nadaskay was an artist featured in our annual Art For Jobs fundraiser. He approached us shortly after about a solo installation and sale that he wanted to put together in support of us. In the span of just a few short months, he has created 1,000 individual pieces of art in the form of hand-made crosses.
In his artist’s statement, Nadaskay explains:
“The overarching principle behind the exhibit is the idea that an individual artist can and should produce work for the benefit of others. It is my intention that this exhibit is used for the betterment of anyone who sees it – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The crosses are to be sold with the proceeds going directly to Advance Memphis. It places art into the hands of a public who may never appreciate it as such and beauty into those same hands. It allows for the exploration of a huge number of creative visual problems and then helps to provide substance for those in need.
The idea for this exhibit/sale came from my desire to promulgate the concept of the social responsibility of the artist to the people that surround them in their particular segment of culture. The art world has become a place where political activism, influential social connections, and monetary gain direct the career paths of artists, to the detriment of the more positive influences that art can have on a culture. With this show, it is my intention to make art that is accessible to the average person, has a positive, hopeful message and from which the proceeds will directly be used to constructively impact society. Each cross, in a sense, represents a pardon. This brought to mind a relatively common phrase in our culture ‘A thousand pardons,’ meaning ‘I beg your pardon;’ it is a quote that comes from a 1931 movie starring Charlie Chan (Black Camel). It really has nothing to do with the movie, but as it was a little catchy and seemed appropriate to the message, the title was born.
The crosses are made in the same manner that I pursue my normal studio work, color and texture playing a huge role in their perception. It is only natural that influences from that artwork show up in a variety of ways in them.”
The artist would like to thank: Union University for its very generous support of the project through a teaching sabbatical grant, studio space, materials and kiln/firing time; Kathryn Pelley and Ragan Williamson, his studio assistants for the project – without whom much of this would not have been possible; and additional thanks should go to Crosstown Arts, Advance Memphis for their wonderful support and assistance in making the project a reality
We hope you will join us for the reception and sale of this monumental work on Thursday, March 30th, at Crosstown Arts. The event will be held from 4pm-9pm, pieces will be available for purchase for $15, and Chris Nadaskay will give a brief artist’s lecture. RSVP on Facebook!
For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Bethany Stout at email@example.com
About the Artist:
Christopher Nadaskay is an artist and Professor of Art at Union University where he has served for 24 years. He is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University and Texas A&M Commerce where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. in Painting/ Mixed Media respectively. His mediums have included watercolor, oils, acrylics, mixed media and various sculpture mediums. Working at the moment in mixed media/ceramic wall relief, he is interested in the relationship between technology and the human condition. He has works in several collections, including the Tennessee State Museum.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hand and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are about the earth.” Deuteronomy 11: 13-21
My name is Keidra Boaze and I am one of the High School Equivalency Instructors at Advance Memphis. Teaching is a huge passion of mine. The gift of teaching that the Lord has given me has proven all the more that I was made in his image–He is the one TRUE teacher and I have learned so much from him. In light of this, our licensed counselor, Molly Akin and I decided to begin a brain development/parenting class based on the curriculum from the Urban Child Institute titled Touch Talk Read Play (TTRP). Our heart was to further equip our neighbors in 38126 with tools for ways to help their children develop cognitively, socio-emotionally, and physically.
We recently began our first pilot class and I’ve been blown away by participants’ response to it. In the beginning, I thought that–based on different cultural practices–that students might be offended by the content. I also thought that we would be doing a lot more teaching than learning. After only a couple classes, I have learned that I was very wrong. Our participants have been eager to learn about child development and how many different circumstantial and environmental activities can affect their child’s (ren’s) brain both negatively and positively. They have also been FULL of wisdom. I come from a poor African American family and I am even learning the not ALL cultural practices are wrong. The key was helping our participants see that they were also doing some things right! We never want to destroy their dignity and the work that they have done as best as they can.
One of the participants has older children. She, as well as other participants, was beginning to feel defeated by some of the discussions. We had to reassure the entire class that it was NEVER too late to restore those relationships and continue to help their children develop. The challenge to them was to implement a strategy from the Touch module which includes talking as well. She said that her 14 year old was feeling neglected by her. During the week, she decided to spend quality time with him by taking him to dinner. In class discussion, she expressed her excitement about his response to their time together. We were so excited for her and to see that things are never too late for redemption.
The passage I quoted above is really the foundation of child development. In the context of Israel, they were to tell the good news of the Lord to their children in every circumstance. We, too, are desiring for our participants to TTRP with their children in different capacities, especially in sharing the truth of who Christ is. I am grateful to take part in such an amazing class.