D uring the Spring and Summer of 2019, there was a different kind of exhibition in the Tallinn Methodist Church with the title “Art Does Missions.” The exhibition was organized by mission and art board ARTEST+ of the Estonian Evangelical Alliance.
This exhibition aims to support missionaries from Estonia who serve in various places all over the world– in our neighboring countries (Latvia, Finland, Russia) as well as in distant exotic countries, e. g. in Myanmar and Ethiopia. At the opening of the exhibition, many of the missionaries introduced their work, the country where they work, and the problems they are trying to solve. Different countries have different problems. For instance, Helene and Joona Toivanen went to Myanmar for three years to support a small, local Lutheran church. After learning the Burmese language, they will be training future church workers in a theological seminary.
A group of volunteers who are doing missionary work in Ethiopia have established a private organization in Estonia (Damota MTÜ) to support young mothers in Ethiopia. Estonians make gift packs for pregnant mothers to encourage them to choose to give birth in a medical center rather than at home. The medical center provides all necessary aid and support for them. These gift packs are very simple, and every woman in Estonia can make her contribution by either knitting or crocheting small baby hats. Such a hat and a piece of soap will often prove to be a good reason for local women to choose to go to a hospital instead of giving birth at home.
Stories of all these missionaries are really touching. It is amazing that there are people who give up the safe atmosphere they are used to living in, customs they are familiar with, and their friends and acquaintances to travel to a distant country to help the local people and to spread the Word of God. At this exhibition in Tallinn Methodist Church, one can also see short introductions of missionaries and their activities. Everyone interested can choose a missionary whom he/she would like to support personally.
This is what makes the exhibition “Art Does Missions” so special. Artists all over Estonia have joined to support missionary work with the best they have, with the works of art they themselves have created. There are 50 works of art by 27 different artists at this exhibition, including landscape paintings, small pictures of flowers, and excellent graphic art. There are beautiful paintings made by professionals as well as by amateurs. The exhibition is grand and impressive, and there is something for everyone. All the paintings were for sale, and money received from the sale supports missionaries.
The exhibition was open until the end of summer 2019, but one can support missionaries at any time. For more information about missionaries and how to support them via buying art, please ask Kaire Lotamõis. For more information about artists and their works, please ask Külli Hansen. Contact details can be found on the webpage of Estonian Evangelical Alliance
( www.allianss.ee ).
The article was written by Külli Hansen, translated by Carmen Karabelnik, and edited for American readers by Julianna Gunby.