The Awakening art exhibit offers unique spiritual views

The Awakening art exhibit offers unique spiritual views at Good Shepherd Gallery in Ferguson. The exhibit features the photography of Henry Chaney and opened with an artist’s reception on September 23rd. Chaney’s works offer a creative and individual perspective of the Bible, church, spirituality and God.

Henry Chaney was heavily involved in the church while growing up. His grandfather was a minister. Today Chaney himself is a youth minister. One of his goals in exhibiting his works is to show youth that there are alternatives ways to express praise for Jesus Christ and to demonstrate Christianity. Chaney said the concept of using Creation as an artistic expression just “popped into my head.”

Art exhibit examines symbols of Halloween

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Henry Chaney weaves images of Halloween into his exhibit on the six days of Creation.

“I had done Adam and Eve a while back and thought it could be interesting to finish the six days of Creation,” he said.

Weaving Bible verses with images of Halloween scarecrows, vampires and zombies into an art exhibit about Creation made sense to Henry.

For him, images of scarecrows evoke a vision of Christ hanging on the cross. Zombies are the walking dead, and vampires drink blood to stay alive. These pagan symbols all have Christian meaning for Chaney.

“We are the living dead, no different than zombies, until we become alive with Jesus. We need to be vampires for Christ, thirsty for His blood that has eternal life,” Chaney said.

Chaney’s grandmother Iris said, “You can see Henry’s spirit in this art exhibit. He was raised in a church school, so the inspiration behind Henry’s art is very good.

“You can see the important points brought out by what Heaven is supposed to look like and see it in the world when you have raised a child knowing God,” Iris said.

Chaney’s mother Karla said, “When Henry started in photography he wanted to depict people watching the world and then show what they saw in a different way. He has succeeded beyond my dreams. It’s overwhelming,” she said.

Six days of Creation

Chaney is a manager at Fineline Studios, a nonprofit agency that brings music and art therapy to people with disabilities.

“He is a great dude. He is super solid. We’re all super proud of Henry. He is a Holy man,” said audio engineer and musician Evan Fortune, who is also Henry’s friend and coworker at Fineline Studios.

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Day 6. ‘Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind;” and it was so.

Henry’s business manager Whitney Jones said that Henry knew he wanted to recreate the six days that God took to create the Earth, and that he wanted to include imagery from Halloween to help people understand the need to stay focused on Jesus and not get consumed by ways of the world.

“Henry has a story to tell,” Whitney said. “Even the photos he took at Lone Elk Nature Preserve make us feel like we are entering Paradise. This show is pretty awesome!”

The art exhibit is 29-year-old Chaney’s first solo show. Sr. Glynis McManamon, who runs Good Shepherd Gallery, met Chaney when he came into the gallery asking if he could rent the venue for his exhibit.

Beyond the ordinary

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A large crowd gathered for the art opening of Henry Chaney’s photographic works.

“We curate shows that align with Good Shepherd Mission. We don’t rent the space. When I saw Henry’s work I knew immediately that I wanted to exhibit his photographs. His works have a special emotional quality,” Sr. Glynis said.

When Sr. Glynis first saw Chaney’s Halloween photographs, she said she didn’t know what to make of them, but she knew she liked them.

“I felt definite energy from his photographs the moment I saw his portfolio. Henry has put God in places you don’t expect, like Halloween. He challenges us to extend our views of spiritual life beyond ordinary experience,” Sr. Glynis said.

According to Sr. Glynis, this has been a banner year for Good Shepherd Gallery. She said, “We have had three extraordinary shows with artists who have exhibited joy and enthusiasm. It’s like family here,” she said.

The Awakening will be on exhibit at Good Shepherd Gallery through October 8, 2016.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website veganstoryteller.com