Beauty Given By Grace

The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe | October 8, 2012 through March 24, 2013


The Biblical narrative depicted through traditional Japanese printmaking techniques.

The Billy Graham Center Museum at Wheaton College presents “Beauty Given by Grace”, a brand new traveling exhibition of Japanese printmaker Sadao Watanabe. Composed of private collections, this exhibition brings together for the first time 50 of the artist’s original stencil prints, calendars, and cards. This special collection of work on biblical themes presents a Japanese artist of critical acclaim, profound originality, and relentless spiritual dedication. The BGC Museum serves proudly as the inaugural venue for this premier exhibit, on display from October 8, 2012 through March 24, 2013.

Sadao Watanabe (1913--1996) converted from Buddhism to Christianity at 17 years old. He expressed stories of his new faith with indigenous Japanese language and style, depicting biblical themes in an East Asian cultural milieu and using a traditional folk art of hand-cut-stencil dyeing, called “katazome”. The luminous works of Sadao Watanabe impart a unique visual legacy to contemporary sacred art. Well regarded in his homeland and in leading art institutions worldwide, Watanabe’s work was created to communicate biblical truth to his culture, be enjoyed by common people, and displayed in ordinary settings.

BGC Museum Watanabe


On Friday, October 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm the Museum will host an opening reception and book signing in its rotunda and gallery, located in the Billy Graham Center. With a short program at 6:00, contributors to the exhibition’s accompanying book will be available to sign copies. The lavish publication is filled with full-page reproductions of Watanabe’s prints as well as background essays by experts of contemporary sacred art, including Watanabe’s translator Dr. John Hesselink, artist and collector Sandra Bowden, journalist and collector John A. Kohan, and Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura. The book will be available for purchase. Refreshments will be provided. Events are free and open to the public.

“Beauty Given by Grace” is brought to the BGC in partnership with CIVA | Christians in the Visual Arts.

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