No time to give up on Planet Earth

After travelling through a wormhole, Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) lands on a potentially habitable planet in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. (Paramount Pictures photo)

“We’re not meant to save the world; we’re meant to leave it.” So says the protagonist of Interstellar, a grand science fiction epic from Christopher Nolan. One of Hollywood’s best ‘blockbuster’ directors (Inception, the Dark Knight trilogy), he has created the best film to come out of Hollywood this year. It may also be the most dangerous.

‘Portraits of perseverance’

Aden Bauman sits at his home work bench after retiring from 46 years of running a watch repair business. His photo and story are part of the ‘Portraits of perseverance’ project by Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen. (Credit: Karl Kessler)

Photographer Karl Kessler of Erb Street Mennonite Church, Waterloo, Ont., stands in the City of Waterloo Museum at the Conestoga Mall, where his and Sunshine Chen’s ‘Portraits of Perseverance’ are on display until Jan. 30. (Credit: Dave Rogalsky)

Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen openly admit to being inspired by Harvey Wang’s New York, a 1990 book of photographic “portraits of men and women in vanishing jobs and professions.”

The Amish Project provocative and harrowing

Amy Keating, playing Velda, an Old Order Amish girl, tells the story of the Amish Mines shooting in 2006 through naïve chalk drawings on the floor of the stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

Velda, an Older Order Amish girl (played by Amy Keating), lies dead on stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

Amy Keating, playing Velda, an Old Order Amish girl, draws on her slate in the school house in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

In 2006, when the Amish of Nickel Mines, Pa., forgave the man who shot their daughters and offered assistance to his widowed family, the world was divided: Were they insane, misguided or holy beyond human reckoning?

Niska beadwork stitches relationships together

Josephine Sutherland shows off a small purse at the Sept. 11 launch of the sale of Niska Artisans beadwork products at the MCC Ontario complex in Kitchener.

Niska Artisans member Josephine Sutherland deftly works on a small purse.

The Niska Artisans cooperative, operating for the past seven years in Timmins, Ont., launched a beadwork display at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario complex at 50 Kent Avenue in Kitchener on Sept. 11.

Finding a sense of place

Churches should be rooted in neighbourhoods or parishes. That’s the claim of the authors, who represent Pentecostal, Anabaptist and Reformed traditions. Our lives and churches are fragmented, and many Sunday commuters pass other churches to meet with people who support their views and where everyone looks and acts similarly.

'Along the Road to Freedom'

Artist Ray Dirks, seated, and Hans (John) Funk looking over his easel. (Photo by Evelyn Petkau)

Seeking to honour the faith of Mennonite mothers who single-handedly brought their families through difficult and challenging experiences to safety, Winnipeg artist Ray Dirks has created “Along the Road to Freedom,” a travelling exhibit currently on display at Conrad Grebel University College’s new gallery in Waterloo, Ont.

Don’t hail Caesar

Fortunately for the humans, the apes are led by Caesar (pictured), who has many fond memories of humans.

The big blockbuster of the summer is the critically acclaimed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It is set in the near future, in which an epidemic—created by the same retrovirus that made apes as intelligent as humans—has wiped out most of the world’s human population.

Retelling the Story

In his new book Rewriting the Break Event, Robert Zacharias identifies a major theme running through four works of Canadian Mennonite literature. The author is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo and is connected to Conrad Grebel University College.

Music and the Environment—a locavore feast for ears and soul

Masie Sum, professor of music at Conrad Grebel University College, plays hand drum as part of the Grebel Gamelan players, at Sound in the Land on June 7. Gamelan are ensembles of Balinese percussion instruments. The Sound in the Land festival/conference was held at Grebel June 5-8, 2014.

Leanne Zacharias plays cello as R. Murray Schafer, seated on ground, plays his shoes in rhythm at Zacharias’ and Douglas Friesen’s workshop at Sound in the Land on June 7. The participants were invited to join in, making natural sounds they heard, remembered or could make on the spot.

Sound in the Land. Sound of the Land. Sound for the Land. Sound with and behalf of and from the Land. Sound. Land. Take your pick, there was something of all these in the 2014 Sound in the Land festival/conference, June 5-8 at Conrad Grebel University College.

Bethel Place residents host an art, craft and antique show

Henry Neufeld holds an ornamental walking stick that he carved from wood he picked up at Camp Assiniboia.

Ruth Heinrichs displays her mother’s wedding dress worn in 1911. Hanging beside it is her own wedding dress that she wore in 1951.

Lillian Toews holds a child-size violin she made in 1977. Beside her are portraits she has painted of her granddaughter and husband.

Mildred Giesbrecht pages through the diary kept by her grandfather, Abram Loeppky, born in 1844.

Susan Froese shows the red velvet tablecloth that once belonged to her grandmother, purchased in Russia over 100 years ago.

A buzz of excitement filled the common room at Bethel Place on June 5. A button collection with buttons dating as far back as the 1700s, photos over 100 years old, a beautifully polished samovar that was brought from Russia in 1923 and many other artifacts and artwork were among the items that evoked conversations and memories.

Faith explored through literature

Participants at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s continuing education seminar, ‘Faith and literature,’  held recently at First Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, explore the transformative nature of literature through Toni Morrison’s novel A Mercy.

“I’m hoping it’ll be like a three-day book club,” said one participant of the continuing education event offered by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan recently.

From garbage, beautiful music comes

All of the instruments played by members of Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra are made from garbage, including this upright bass fashioned from a discarded oil drum.

The Recycled Orchestra boasts violins made of cake pans.

Recycled Orchestra conductor Favio Chavez doubles on guitar.

Pastor Ben Pauls of  Zoar Mennonite Church in Waldheim, Sask., examines one of the Recycled Orchestra’s trumpets.

What do cake pans, candy tins, bottle caps and wooden pallets have in common? They were all found in a landfill, and they’ve all been made into musical instruments for Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra.

Unlocking a mystery

In 2010 Todd Burpo, a Wesleyan pastor from Nebraska, told the “astounding story” of his four-year-old son Colton’s “trip to heaven and back.” Heaven is for Real (Thomas Nelson Publishers) tells the story of the tribulations of the Burpo family: too little pay, Todd’s kidney stone emergencies, a business that was barely making ends meet, and finally Colton’s ruptured appendix, following

A flood of bleak images

Those who miss the days of Hollywood biblical epics will be happy to see that one of the first stories we hear in Sunday school has come to the cinema as a grand, big-budget spectacle. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has opened to widespread critical acclaim and blockbuster status, defying the expectations of those who thought it was too controversial to succeed.


Subscribe to RSS - Artbeat