“The Procession” Serigraph by Artist John August Swanson Installed in Slessor Hall
The Brehm Center at Fuller Seminary has acquired a notable and inspirational work of art, the serigraph The Procession, by Los Angeles artist John August Swanson. The piece, which is on display in the lobby of Slessor Hall on Fuller’s Pasadena campus, was formally installed at a celebratory gathering on October 2 with the artist.
"The Brehm Center is delighted to bring this remarkable serigraph by John August Swanson to the seminary," says Fred Davison, executive director of the Brehm Center. "This acquisition is the first in an ongoing initiative to enhance the permanent collection of inspired works of art here at Fuller. Leonardo da Vinci wrote, ‘Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.’ It is my belief that where the Spirit has worked with the hands of artists, the Spirit speaks to us through their work."
The Procession is a signed, limited-edition serigraph of an original acrylic-on-canvas painting housed in the Vatican Museums' Collection of Modern Religious Art. The serigraph, not merely a print of the painting, is a complete reworking of the original taking the artist 12 months to complete. Through 89 richly printed colors, it portrays a vibrant mosaic of persons from all walks of life joyfully processing from the nave of a church, interwoven with intricately detailed depictions of various biblical events. The celebrants’ faces, musical instruments, and banners combine to create a powerful scene of rejoicing, belief, and life.
"We, in our communities of faith, are a procession of stories, stories both unique and shared, stories connected to those who have gone before us and those who will come after us," says artist Swanson. "We gather in celebration of and respect for each person's story and in expectation and awe of the story we are becoming together. This is the reality I seek to touch upon in this work."
Swanson says his inspiration for The Procession, which he calls "the grand work of my life," came from a visit to the Mission of San Xavier del Bac near Tucson, Arizona. There he witnessed a procession in which many Indian participants were singing and dancing. Other places that inspired the image were "the beautiful cathedrals I have seen in Europe and Mexico," he explains: "Chartres, France; Canterbury, England; Notre Dame, Paris; the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona; the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City and Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. These are sacred places used for procession…places that have special meaning in the lives of people who journey to get there."
"The great procession is a celebration of life and faith," Swanson says, "where the rich and poor march in unison; the strong carry the weak, and the weak humble the proud; those who know the dance teach those who are just learning; and a child lifts high the banner for all to follow in joy, in peace, in love. This is the reality, the spirit I want to make real in this work."
To read more about the The Procession, click here.