Welcome to Expressions for Justice!
I was first introduced to IJM about five years ago while I was going through a season of awakening and began to be exposed to the ugly realities of human trafficking. The more I learned about the horrors and prevalence of modern day slavery and violent oppression, the more I wanted to partner and lend my resources to IJM. There was just one problem. I am a classical pianist.
This posed quite a dilemma. How could I reconcile the call and demand of fine artistry with my ever-growing conviction that the work of justice was meant for my piano playing hands? I began to notice that the stories I would read on IJM’s website and in Gary Haugen’s wonderful books would somehow find their way into my playing. When I would play Brahm’s Intermezzo Op 118 n2, an incredibly beautiful love song, I couldn’t help but think of those who were being violated, exploited and cut off from the lavish love and beauty they were created for. When I would play Bach, the freedom that would explode after hours of pushing through complex, difficult passages, began to take on new meaning. Justice began inspiring my artistry and I began to discover that my artistry could also inspire justice.
It was in the midst of this I moved to The Netherlands and was introduced to IJM-NL’s Director Caroly Houmes. Caroly and I barely knew one another, but somehow she thought I might be interested in helping establish a partnership between fine artists and IJM, a way for artists to use share their most valuable currency, their artistry, as well as bring their unique, creative, mind set to IJM. Caroly’s instincts could not have been better. I happily accepted her exciting invitation and began to embark on a journey that is only just beginning. There is so much to explore and discover about artistry as a powerful weapon against modern day slavery. I think it is an inexhaustible pursuit, but a worthy one because of art’s unique ability to communicate and articulate in a way that objective facts alone cannot. Artists enable people to see what they can’t otherwise see. We are in a world bombarded with facts and news explaining our broken, unjust world. But facts are not enough, they cannot tell the whole truth.
The great British theologian, N.T. Wright puts it this way
“Through art we are constantly creating a world that we can’t believe any other way! When you hear music your mind and imagination are enlarged-thoughts you couldn’t have thought emerge. Great exhibitions make you realize the world is a different place.”
IJM is trying to bring people in touch with the true, ugly realities of injustice, but this is not all. IJM is also trying to inspire people to imagine and create a world without brutality, slavery, sex trafficking and exploitation of the poor.
IJM needs courageous artists who are willing to use their passion, skills and artistry to communicate, to tell the truth, to inspire and awaken hope in a way that not only moves people, but gets people moving. Welcome to Expressions for Justice.