Korean-born artist Francesca Cho is exhibiting work in two group shows, in London and Bergamo, this month. The London show, Sacred, in the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre London Bridge (73-81 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 ONQ [map]) near the Financial Times offices in Southwark Bridge Road — two minutes’ walk from Tate Modern — is to mark World Religion Day (celebrated on the third Sunday in January).
World Religion Day is practiced in all countries. Its mission is to foster the establishment of interfaith understanding and harmony by emphasizing the common denominators underlying all religions. The event was instituted by the Bahai community in 1950.
Sacred explores these common denominators and also the differences between religions and belief systems; the interweaving message throughout is of the world as one single global community. The reverberating pieces displayed also reveal the aspects of religion and spirituality that are personally sacred to each exhibiting artist.
The Deep Spring of Life, Francesca Cho (2005), Oil on Canvas 95x127cm
My work is abstract and tends to be meditative. I focus on themes and preoccupations held in common by all religions. From my perspective as a Roman Catholic it is perhaps to be expected that I regard universal themes as inspirational — the word catholic meaning ‘universal’. Whilst my work has been published in Oremus: the magazine of Westminster Cathedral, this is not to say that my paintings are ‘religious’ or tied to a belief system. But again and again people have told me that they identify and recognise the spiritual nature of my work. It pleases me to hear this because every artist hopes to elicit a deep response in the viewer. Since there is a profoundly spiritual dimension to the human person and to all faith systems worthy of the name, my hope is that the paintings are able to move and delight those who see them. My fundamental religious belief is that love and peace are fruits of all great religious traditions when practised with sincerity and lived with commitment and integrity.
And the connection with the anti-clerical Garibaldi (1807 – 1882)? ‘Garibaldi is the only wholly admirable figure in modern history’ claimed AJP Taylor.
Garibaldi was offered a ticker tape parade up the “canyon of heroes” in New York City. The Jesuits stirred up the Irish Catholics against him and in order to keep the peace he refused the offer. Of all the many world famous personalities to have been offered this singular honour, Garibaldi remains the only person to date to have refused it.1
Cho’s work grants him the honour posthumously.
The Only Person, Francesca Cho (2007), oil on canvas 77x57cm
Giuseppe Garibaldi: Uomo della libertÃ , uomo dell’umanitÃ runs from 10-20 January at Museo Storico di Bergamo – Convento di S. Francesco (below right)
Cho is currently preparing for a solo show in April.
- World Religion Day website
- Novas Contemporary Urban Centre website and exhibition page
- Garibaldi 200 website