Can Art Reveal Your True Identity? The unGallery Truth Collective Exhibit

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending an art gallery, known as the unGallery, put on by The Truth Collective, a ministry to Muslim and former Muslim women. I was invited to serve as a guide to help lead visitors to the gallery in conversation, prayer, and contemplation of what God was doing in their lives as they viewed powerful artwork depicting perceptions of our identity as women. Little did I know, this event would be as much about God ministering to me as it was about me ministering to others.

Most of the art was created by former Muslims and by Christians who have lived in Muslim-majority countries, where women are generally treated as second-class citizens and are commonly neglected and abused. Having spent a lot of time with Muslims, both internationally and in the U.S., the artwork felt personal to me. I have provided counseling to Muslim women who have been raped and beaten. I have sat with a 21-year-old as she showed me her photo album containing pictures of dozens of her friends who had already lost their lives, usually at the hands of their own fathers who felt a sense of shame over their daughter’s behavior, choices, or failures. I have danced and laughed with Muslim women who, for one brief moment in time, felt a sense of freedom they had never known before.

‘Unloved’ by Sevgi Mutuku

As I walked toward the center of the gallery on the first day, I immediately noticed two starkly different paintings juxtaposed to portray a lie and the truth about our identity as women. On the left was a painting of a woman curled up in the fetal position around a staircase descending into darkness. Containing only colors of gray, black, brown, grayish-blue, and beige, the woman’s face is hidden and her surroundings eerie. This piece represented the lie: I am unloved. No one cares about me. No one values me. No one ever will. All hope is gone. All that awaits me is a descent into further emptiness, a spiral downward into nothingness.

Next to this moving depiction of anguish and sorrow was a very different painting illustrating perhaps the most powerful truth we can know: I am loved.

‘Loved’ by Sevgi Mutuku. Available for purchase. See details below.

This painting was filled with bright, vibrant colors. It contains two women, one whose posture is open, as in a graceful backward dive, as she dances freely in beautiful surrender. The other woman rests trustingly in the strong, loving arms of her Savior. All is peaceful and calm, yet filled with happiness as even the leaves and the stars appear to dance with joy all around them.

As I reflected on these stunning works of art, I recalled lies I have believed in the past about my identity: Nobody loves me. I have no value apart from what I can produce or achieve. People only tell me they love me because they want something from me. And in the midst of recalling these lies, I saw the truth: I am loved unconditionally, and nothing can separate me from the love of Christ Jesus.

Regardless of what others have told us or how they have treated us, the truth is that every one of us is loved by the most important, beautiful, powerful, intelligent, wise, glorious being ever to exist. We are loved by God, who knit us together in our mother’s womb, who created us in His own image and thus endowed us with inherent value and worth. For those who have accepted His offer of forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross, we have been adopted into His family. We are daughters of the King, beloved and treasured forever, and our greatest problem of all—our own sin—has been dealt with once and for all. The future is glorious as our Savior awaits us on the other side, having prepared a place for us to dwell with Him forever, in perfect love, beauty, and intimacy.

Once we know our true identity in Christ, we can begin to live out the freedom displayed so beautifully by the dancer in the second painting. We can share the truth with others, and we can live confidently knowing that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). For if God did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? We are infinitely loved, not for what we do, but for who (and whose) we are.

As we walk through the trials, the distress, the persecution, and the dangers of this world, we can trust that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us, so that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39). This is the message God reminded me of over and over throughout the weekend event, and this is the message that I live to share with others.

As I departed the art gallery and re-entered the world of uncertainty and unrest, I had a renewed passion for sharing the truth with others, that they, too, may be set free from the lies that weigh them down. Apart from Christ, there is no ultimate truth, no ultimate hope, no ultimate glory. But in Christ, we can know that we are loved always and forever.

To learn more about The Truth Collective and support their ministry work go to TheTruthCollective.org To learn more about the artist Sevgi Mutuku and her artwork check out her Facebook page.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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