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Curator's Statement
Paula Artac, D.Min, ATR-BC, CEAT

My soul stands vulnerable in the barren desert,
The divine is hidden from my eyes in the darkness of unknowability.
Waiting and watching,
All exterior recognition is cast aside.
My heart breaks open pouring out all sense of self,
Longing for water to quench the thirst of my seeking.
I have journeyed long into this darkened ground of my soul
Only to find not myself. Only to find…nothing.
Where can I run?
Where can I run
But to run beyond myself,
Only to find abundance in my soul sanctuary,
The empty bowl, filled with God. Temenos.

(Artac, 2002)

How many of us take the time to “wander” and stand in the darkness of winter, in the foreign desert of unknowability, looking up, waiting and watching the night sky for a sign, a star, or perhaps even a heavenly angel chorus…something tangibly real to quench our seeking of the identity of the Divine in our lives – to find a temenos among the rush and noise?

τέμενος is a Greek word which refers to a universal instinct to create a protected, safe space in which to heal, reorganize and regenerate the fragmented personality. In Greek antiquity, temenos was recognized as a sacred enclosure or precinct; a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a deity; a precinct, usually surrounded by a barrier, allotted to a temple or sanctuary, or consecrated for any other reason. In making a temenos, we are creating an enclosed, self-rebirthing place, akin to a garden, piece of sacred land, guarded castle, or maternal womb.

Advent is the ideal time to create our sacred space to reflect on the identity of Jesus, as prayed in the O Antiphons, and to experience His tangible presence, the incarnate proof of God’s love for us.

As you, the viewer, reflect on the varied artwork in this exhibit, you are invited to create a sacred space in your imagination, a τέμενος, for each antiphon. In this quiet space we pray,

O Wisdom – Jesus, grant us tolerance for the uncertainties of life, awe and wonder for your Creation, knowledge which leads us to wisdom, and a deep understanding that all things are ordered in Your time.

O Lord and Ruler – Jesus, forgive us. Wash us with the newness of Life in You. Gently cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by Your inspiration, that we may perfectly love You, graciously serve You, and worthily magnify Your holy Name.

O Root of Jesse – Jesus, remind us that You are ever faithful to Your promises. You are the living branch of the ancestral line of Jesse brought almost to the point of extinction. Bless us with renewed hope.

O Key of David – Jesus, infuse our hearts with humility and obedience. Align our hearts with Your purpose for each of us to be Gatekeepers to open doors that no one can shut, and shut doors that no one can open and to protect the truth of Your Word. Guide us through the open door of reconciliation and renewal so that we all can walk in communion with You and abide in Your love.

O Dawn of the East – Jesus, dispel all darkness and anxiety within us. When we are in the darkest moment just before dawn, be our light and comfort. Through Your death and resurrection, the darkness of sin was overcome. You are the dawn of eternal salvation.

O King of the Gentiles – Jesus, give us strength and support to remember that You are always with us, and that You are our only God. Help us remember and give of ourselves to all who are suffering and in need.

O Emmanuel -- Jesus, You are the Spirit of Life present in every moment, witness to our every action. To you all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from you no secrets are hid; Your presence embraces all of us. Guide us on our personal spiritual journey of faith. Remind us, that the fullest encounter with the Divine takes place not in solitude, but in the quality of our relationships with other people.

With gratitude to our exhibiting artists for their gifts of creativity, spirituality and inspiration that bless each of us. Advent Blessings,

Paula Artac
Curator, 2016 ECVA “O Antiphons” Virtual Exhibit

Bio: Dr. Paula Artac is a professional watercolor artist, art therapist, university instructor, liturgical art designer, illuminator and author. As an adjunct instructor at Ottawa University, she teaches graduate expressive arts therapy and undergraduate/graduate psychology courses.

Dr. Artac facilitates “Colors of Life,” a therapeutic art group, at Ironwood Cancer and Research Center in Glendale, Arizona, and “Art Spa” through the City of Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Artac is founder of 2 Dots and A Line non-profit, which utilizes and blends her doctoral study of spirituality, healing and the creative process in workshops, classes and symposiums for adults and children. Since 2014, Paula has successfully developed the Arizona chapter of Episcopal Church & Visual Arts national organization. She is the convener of this chapter, and Curator for EC&VA exhibits.

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