Bahai News -- The Daily Review - Painter's works reflect power of healing Article Last Updated: Monday, August 11, 2003 - 7:40:38 AM PST

Painter's works reflect power of healing

By Vivian Chen, CORRESPONDENT

BLUE PAINT flies over red brush strokes, landing beside yellow lines that form the shape of a triangle. Movement this dramatic can be found on Christa Schanda's acrylic painting "Ascent," which Schanda says is a symbol of hope. "Many times when I paint, it becomes a spiritual experience," she said. "I go beyond the ordinary."

Schanda's art will be on display for the rest of this month at the Sun Gallery, a nonprofit visual arts organization that supports local artists.

For 20 years Schanda and her art have gone beyond the ordinary, using color and nature to express her interpretation of the world.

Ranging from abstract flowers, in a style similar to that of Georgia O'Keefe, to dancers portrayed amid nature, she speaks through her art, emphasizing themes of peace and unity.

Born in Vienna, Austria, during World War II, Schanda says her art is inspired by her experiences with unfortunate world events.

"It (the war) really moved me," she said. "I felt like an innocent victim born into a terrible time."

Schanda's most recent works reflect the power of healing to overcome war, a theme inspired by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. After visiting New York City, Schanda says, she became more intuitive with her work, as seen in her abstract pieces. "It's not just healing my own physical body, but more healing the spirit of war and peace."

Schanda's views on peace and her devotion to the Bahai Faith shape her outlook on the world, and ultimately her art. Schanda said she sees herself as a preacher and her artwork as the means to

communicate.

"While I paint, I'm thinking of the message I want to give -- the war, the peace and the healing, and still having fun and going on with life," she said.

"It's about healing emotions, both personal and universal as well as looking closer at what you see to bring your own experiences into the art."

One example of asking the viewer to look closer is found in a series of paintings using found objects juxtaposed against bright colors that highlight the beauty of Bay Area marshlands.

"The marshlands were something that captured me because the ordinary person goes out there and sees a lot of muck, but I saw the colors," she said.

Schanda's focus on powerful colors, as well as an interest in ballet, helps convey messages in her art.

"There is a lot of movement in my work," she said. "Out of nowhere, a dance appears as I paint. The dance of war and peace, the dance of life, the dance of color and the dance of nature."

The Sun Gallery, at 1015 E St., Hayward, is open from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the gallery at (510) 581-4050.

©Copyright 2003, The Daily Review (Hayward, CA, USA)

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