discussion panel

Spiritual Renaissance


featuring Lubomir Arsov, Daria Hlazatova and Łukasz Murzyn

  • Spiritual Renaissance


  • Before the age of Enlightenment, art served a higher purpose: it illustrated the word of God and transformed the power of faith into manifestations of sublime beauty. The Catholic Church commissioned Michelangelo to depict biblical heroes and prophets in his most famous works of art: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican and the figure of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze. All around the world and in numerous cultures, folk art was a manifestation of a collective subconscious expressed through stories, ritual, myths and nature, a religious syncretism of pagan or pantheistic spirituality with Christianity.

  • In Central and Eastern Europe, the sacred in art withstood Western Enlightenment thinking, as explored in recent exhibitions: A New Beginning in Kraków and Between Worlds in London, a solo show of works by the early-20th century, Warsaw-based Lithuanian artist, composer, and theosophist M.K. Čiurlionis.

  • Michelangelo’s art was a true reflection of Genesis 1:27 – “God created man in his own image.” Meanwhile, Islamic art is generally characterised by an abstract geometric aesthetic. This is because within the Sunni tradition of figurative art, any representations of Allah and his messenger Mohammed are strictly forbidden. Instead, spirituality is expressed through abstraction, light and form.

  • During any wartime, the sacred becomes a battleground. One of our guest speakers, the Ukrainian artist Daria Hlazatova, is living through an actual war, during which everyday life is halted by attacks. Her art – influenced by Symbolism, Folk art and expressive dance – becomes a spiritual weapon against contemporary Russia, a personal and moral duty to share what is happening to her, her fellow citizens and her nation, Ukraine.

  • Another guest, the Bulgaria-born and Toronto-based animation artist, Lubomir Arsov explores the potential for transformation and spiritual awakening from a despairing and dystopian world dominated by technocratic corporatism. His animation, IN-Shadow – A Modern Odyssey (2017) has had, to date, over five million views on YouTube.

  • The Polish artist and curator Łukasz Murzyn is a rare kind of contemporary artist – a Catholic who creates installations, videos, and performances that explore religion, cultural heritage, and the crisis of civilisation. In the UK, the artist Alastair Gordon co-founded Morphē Arts to encourage a better dialogue between the Christian faith and contemporary art. Gordon says: “I am a Christian and I am an artist. As a Christian I hope that my faith would inform every area of my life including my art practice, yet I don’t think you would necessarily know I was a Christian just by looking at my painting.”
  • We invite our audience and speakers to consider why there are hardly any Christian artists in contemporary art, as opposed to artists who are Christian but “generally don’t make a big thing of it”? There’s been a bizarre upsurge in paganism and a fascination with magic in mainstream art practice in the past decade, but how are the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam expressed within contemporary art? Is the act of submitting to, and contemplating the idea of the eternal, still possible in art? Did the sacred and the metaphysical in art die, just as God’s light withered away throughout the Age of Enlightenment, the rise of Communism, and hegemony of Capitalism, and the creation of the modern world, or are we currently witnessing its renaissance?

  • Please join us to hear our guests’ thoughts on their own practice in relation to these questions and take part in the discussion.


Discussion financed by
Media partners
  • Admission is free.
  • English-speaking guests may join the debate live on → YouTube
  • Cover photo:
    • Light and Water, Daria Hlazatova