Sunday, September 11, 2011

magical night: Review of Shaun Tan’s Arrival

Just back from a magical night at Her Majesty’s Theatre, experiencing Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, put to music by composer Ben Walsh. A visual and auditory experience that over 1 hour 15 minute, engaged The Arrival, which is a wordless graphic novel of immigration, 128 pages that explore the displacement and unexpected grace of being in a new country.

I came away stunned by the ability to connect and story tell, without words. One hour and 15 with NO words.

I came away reminded of the importance of being invited to pause, forced to take the time to dwell, and in so doing to discover meaning.

I came away struck by the potential for all-age worship, kids aside, in front and behind, all transfixed.

Why can’t church be a wordless, intergenerational invitation to pause and ponder?

I came away reminded anew of the enormous courage required to migrate and the reliance of the generosity and time of the host culture. (No Taylor’s cried that I am aware of!) Tan’s father is a migrant from Asia. Now here in Australia we delight in Tan’s art and I can’t help wondering how many more Shaun Tan’s might be in the next load of migrants washing up on Australia’s shores.

Shaun Tan is an Australian treasure, a noted illustrators of picture books and young people’s literature. I’ve blogged before about discovering his book, Eric and the theology of hospitality buried in illustrations.

Posted by steve at 10:34 PM

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

loving eric: a contemporary theology of hospitality

An unexpected bonus of visiting the Tate Modern was re-finding the work of Shaun Tan. Si Smith, of 40 fame, first put me onto Shaun, by sending me The Red Tree. It was beautiful, hand illustrated with a lovely, unfolding short story.

While at Tate, I noticed another Shaun Tate, Eric. Delightful size. Once again beautifully illustrated. And the story, again lovely and unfolding. I am not going to summarise it in any way, because it would ruin it. Simply to say that it offers a fascinating theology of hospitality; what it means to give as a tourist and receive as a host.

It worked for me at so many levels – tourist in England, alien in Australia, missiologist talking often about hospitality your place and mine!

Posted by steve at 08:13 PM