Praying for society through art
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Praying for society through art

Fr A. Sahaya Belix surrounded by children while painting in Tamil Nadu, South India.

Fr A. Sahaya Belix surrounded by children while painting in Tamil Nadu, South India.

An Indian Catholic priest is inviting the public to immerse themselves in his “spiritual art” and get in touch with their inner selves.

Fr Belix’s works are full of images and symbols meant to draw the viewer into a “deep spiritual experience”.Fr Belix’s works are full of images and symbols meant to draw the viewer into a “deep spiritual experience”.

Fr A. Sahaya Belix, who is currently displaying 20 of his colourful paintings at Ir-Razzett tal-Markiż Mallia Tabone, in Mosta, has made it his mission to create a “healthy society” through art and craft.

“Art is the expression of the soul. Art leads man to be in touch with his inner self. I make my act of painting a prayer,” he told the Times of Malta. “

Fr Belix comes from a place called Devasahayam Mount, in Tamil Nadu, south India, where Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, a faithful layman who lived in the 18th century, was shot to death for his faith in Jesus Christ. Fr Belix was ordained priest seven years ago and served as a youth director in his diocese of Kottar for five years.

The self-taught artist has been painting since childhood but says he developed his spiritual art, which is born out of meditation, through his priestly formation.

He later did a diploma in expressive art therapy. The experience inspired him to formulate what he calls “neuro aesthetic spirituality” (NAS) which combines aspects of psychology, spirituality and art.

“When one practises NAS, it makes positive changes in the right side of the brain,” he claimed.

“Those who don’t paint can achieve the same wellness through seeing and contemplating a painting.”

That is because his works are full of images and symbols meant to draw the viewer into a “deep spiritual experience”.

Fr Belix also does speed painting, an artistic technique where one has a limited time to finish a work, to explain the word of God. He stars in some YouTube programmes and delivers spiritual art therapy and awareness programmes for children, the sick and the elderly in India.

Through the exhibition, titled My Sweet Memories of Malta, Fr Belix recounts his personal and “beautiful” experience of the island, which he has visited three times.

His paintings combine elements of Maltese and Indian culture, heritage, nature and, of course, spirituality.

A striking aspect of these works is surely the use of bright colours, which reflect Fr Belix’s Indian background.

“India is a country of many colourful spices, flowers and soil. This has influenced me a lot in my choice of colours,” he noted.

He added that such colours also have therapeutic qualities, as they stimulate the senses and can cause positive changes in the mind and body.

All proceeds from the exhibition, which runs until January 26, will go towards the medical expenses of kidney patients in India.

The Razzett tal-Markiż Mallia Tabone, in Mosta, is open from Monday to Saturday from 6 to 8pm and on Sundays from 10am to noon and from 6 to 8pm. For more information, visit www.talentmosti.com. To follow the priest’s work, visit the Facebook page ‘Art is All Fr Sahaya Belix’.

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