Charlotte based artist Antonio Livingston was commissioned by RAFI to produce the theme artwork for the 2015 Come to the Table Conference Series. In this post, Antonio reflects on the inspiration behind his work.
Head, Heart & Hands: Description of a Watercolor
by Antonio Livingston
When the opportunity to do the painting for the 2015 Come to the Table Conferences was presented, I was excited to say the least. What could be said and how could it be said?
How could two generations of sharecroppers and a family peppered with ministers be utilized? Since Come to the Table is a faith-based initiative, why not start there? When Jesus fed the 5,000, there were leftovers. He did not just cast them aside. In John 6:12, it is written, “When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’” It is inherent to the faith to be good stewards of what is provided — from the seed, the harvest to the table.
The theme of the 2015 conferences ties into the seed, time, harvest growth process. First the seed of a thought is planted. Then it germinates and takes root in the heart. Finally, manifesting in the real world, whether by the work of our hands or some other means. The scriptures were selected to coincide with this train of thought.
Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It is placed next to a kernel of corn as a metaphor of the seed of a thought. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” There is a farmer there diligently plowing the field.Growing up in Winston-Salem, my dad use to have a local garden. We were always snapping peas and shucking corn. The farmer in the painting is using a plow like my dad used.
1 Corinthians 9:10, “…he that ploweth should plow in hope.” I remember all the hard work he did. I can almost hear the sound of his plow repeatedly breaking the earth as he prepared the field. Our minds are the same, we have worked hard to prepare for the good seed and to keep the weeds out. The heart with the sprouting plant is the is metaphor for thought taking root and beginning to flourish.
Along with all the food we bring to the table, we bring everything we are. We are the sum total of our thoughts. Similar to all the seeds that yielded the bounty that sits on the table, so are we, by our thoughts. Yet, we all have more growing to do. We have not reached our fullest potential. We can not do it in and of ourselves, but with one another — coming to the table.