Inaugural Magness Lectureship brings artist Dr. He Qi to Milligan

Published 3:57 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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Milligan University welcomes Christian artist Dr. He Qi on Thursday, Sept. 21, as the inaugural speaker for the university’s Magness Lectureship on Jesus in the Arts.
Qi’s lecture series, “My Journey of Christian Art,” will begin during the university’s chapel service at 11 a.m. in the Mary B. Martin Auditorium in Seeger Chapel and will also include a lecture titled “Images of Jesus in Asian Christian Art” at 7 p.m. in the McGlothlin-Street Theatre in the Gregory Center. The lectures are free and open to the public.
“It is a real honor for Milligan to be hosting Dr. Qi for the inaugural Jesus in the Arts Lectures, made possible through the generosity of dear Milligan friends Drs. Lee and Pat Magness,” said Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer. “The Magness Lectureship is the perfect way to celebrate their love for the arts, for the church and for Milligan.”
Qi serves as the artist-in-residence at Fuller Theological Seminary. His paintings have been exhibited around the world and are influenced by folk art, Tibetan art, medieval European art and modern art. Qi has developed a unique Chinese idiom, making use of vibrant colors and geometric designs to portray compelling images of Jesus and other biblical figures. He has served as artist-in-residence or visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Samford University, Wheaton College and the University of Toronto.
Born in Nanjing, China, he grew up in the Cultural Revolution and escaped hard labor by painting propaganda images of Mao Zedong. When he came upon an old art magazine with a print of a painting of Madonna and child, he mysteriously experienced a feeling of peace, having no idea that the painting was connected to Christianity. He continued to paint Mao by day, but at night he began painting the Madonna. Thus began a spiritual journey, culminating in his baptism in 1989.
Qi studied art at Nanjing Normal University, medieval art at the Hamburg Institute of Art in Germany, and eventually received his doctorate from the Nanjing Art College. He was the first person from China to earn a Ph.D. in religious art after the Cultural Revolution.
The Jesus in the Arts Lectureship was established through a generous gift from beloved retired Milligan professors, Drs. Lee and Pat Magness. The lectureship focuses on the person, teachings and ministry of Jesus as reflected on and interpreted through the arts.
Offered every other year, the lectureship is interdisciplinary and recognizes musical, literary, kinetic and visual arts. The lectureship was also founded on the desire to offer the Milligan community the opportunity to encounter artists and artistic expressions from underrepresented ethnic groups.

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