18_virgin_and_childThe tradition of Eastern Christian spirituality and imagery will be celebrated at the Art Gallery of Ballarat from 18 October 2014 to 26 January 2015 with the exhibition EIKON: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World.

Gallery director Gordon Morrison, who is curating the exhibition for the Ballarat gallery, believes the exhibition will not only strike a chord with Christians but appeal to those looking for a more profound and mystical understanding of spirituality.

“Icons are far more than two-dimensional images of Christ, the angels and saints,” Mr Morrison said.

“They are a powerful form of visual prayer that has been integral to the devotional practice of Eastern Christianity for 1500 years.”

The exhibition will explain the origins of icons, exploring their meaning to the communities who create and venerate them and their impact on cultures who have come in contact with them. The aim is to give the visitor insights into the extraordinary power of these paintings to sustain and shape belief in different times and contexts, sometimes against significant odds.

Most of the icons in the show originate from Greece and Russia, as well as from Cyprus, Syria and Palestine. They range in time from the 12th to the beginning of the 19th centuries.

Viewing the exhibition will be a special event, with dramatic lighting and a soundscape incorporating traditional chanting, bells and other sounds of an Orthodox service, recreating the original setting of the works.

EIKON will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue, as well as specially produced Christmas cards and other souvenirs. There will also be a schedule of education and public programs, including concerts of Greek and Russian-inspired music.

For more information visit: www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au

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