Viewing entries tagged
mural

Charlot's Black Christ Mural in Ra

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Charlot's Black Christ Mural in Ra

Jean Charlot mural

When you picture beautiful frescoes in historic cathedrals your mind probably wanders to a European city, and not Fiji. However, we've been aiming to see Jean Charlot's mural of the Black Christ in the Ra District of Fiji for some time now. On our way back from Nadi last week, we made it happen! Along King's Road in Naiserelagi village in Ra, there is a sign for St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Mission. Following the sign towards an uphill 5-minute drive leads directly to the Church that is home to the beautiful artwork. We knew right away that this was the right church, based on the descriptions we'd heard. No other cars or people were around; just yaqona (kava) lying to dry in the sun out front.

St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Mission Catherdral

The cathedral was open, so we removed our shoes and let ourselves in to see the frescoes we'd been eagerly anticipating. The cathedral itself is built in the same manner as the Catholic church on Taveuni- a stairway entrance leading to high vaulted ceilings with stained glass windows and ibe (ih-mbay; Fijian woven mats) covering the floors.

Stained glass windowsWoven mats covering the floor

The set of Jean Charlot's three frescoes was everything we'd hoped for and more. The Black Christ and Worshippers mural is the center piece over, measuring ten feet by thirty feet; and to either side there are ten by twelve panels; one of St. Joseph's Workshop and the other of The Annunciation.

Black Christ and Worshippers

St. Joseph's Worshop

The Annunciation

These pieces were painted in the early 1960s, and his style reminds us of the work of muralists Diego Rivera, Hale Woodruff and Thomas Hart Benton. We are so inspired by the multicultural aspects and empowering nature of the centerpiece; looking closely you will notice Fijian, and Fijian-Indian cultural traditions seamlessly integrated into the mural. Traditional offerings are being made on either side of the Christ figure.

Black Christ detailBlack Christ detailBlack Christ detailBlack Christ detailBlack Christ detail

Jean Charlot has painted murals throughout Mexico and in Hawaii. As we head back to the States- we'll make a serious effort to view more of his work in the region.

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Diwali Kids' Mural

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Diwali Kids' Mural

October 23rd marked Diwali (or Deepavali)- the Hindu Festival of lights. Diwali is a lunar holiday, celebrated on the darkest new moon night on the calendar. Celebrations here included firecrackers and lots of sweets.
Diwali is a public holiday so the local schools had the day off. Jack and I did not have the day off, but were able to celebrate through work. We had 16 kids join in painting one of the containers at the resort.
Jack painting container
We had previously started painting another container at the resort and got a feel for how it would work.
Kids sketching
We showed the kids a few basic organic designs in the classroom, and we showed them how to use leaves as stencils, We also gave a quick lesson in color theory. We didn't have the best paints for the job, but we did have gloves and a very cooperative team of children so it was a relatively mess-free project.
Jack demonstrating
Girls hard at work

We mixed colors and cleaned brushes while they went to work. We gave the kids free range of the composition and color choices. The painting was limited to the areas the kids could reach, but they did a great job of filling those areas with bright designs!

Kids with mural

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