Date Paintings, various dates,
Painted by On Kawara (1932-2014),
Executed between 1996-1995,
Acrylic on canvas

Date Paintings, various dates,
Painted by On Kawara (1932-2014),
Executed between 1996-1995,
Acrylic on canvas

Gospel of 1 January 2020

Happy New Year to you all

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.

When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

Reflection on the Date Paintings

For all you Contemporary Art lovers, it has been a while that we have looked at some modern art. With Christmas and during the festive season, the readings just lend themselves slightly more to some more ‘traditional’ images. Anyway, a good dose of contemporary art for today though!

Today’s image shows a few ‘Date Paintings’ by Japanese conceptual artist, On Kawara (1932-2014). He is most known for painting his Today Series where he paints simple acrylic on canvas renderings of the day’s date. From the 4th of January 1966 up to his death in 2014, he painted the exact same painting and always completed it on the day he began it. What amazing discipline to do this! The works are simply differentiated through format, colour, date, and sometimes the language of the country in which it was made when he was traveling. The originality of each work, lies in the very small differences from the others. This becomes a possibility for a confrontation with ourselves to see how we change ever so slightly day by day. Change always happens, even though on the surface we look the same. Important to have our faith guiding this change.

Probably most dates on today’s illustration don’t mean anything to us. Most dates don’t mean anything to us, until a painting comes along that has your birthday on it; your daughter’s birthday; your wedding date; the date your father passed away… Then suddenly the date, the painting, becomes highly meaningful and poignant, even though the work of art is highly conceptual in itself.

During the next 365 days… the next 365 dates… may God bless you, your families and friends with good health, love and happiness. Thank you for reading these daily emails. You are 6,200 daily readers now. Thank you also for all the regular feedback you give us. A joy to work together!

Greetings from Rome and may God’s light guide you in 2020.

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