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Programs » Art Gallery» Exhibit: Ray Dirks: In God’s Image

In God’s Image
A Global Anabaptist Family


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March 4 – June 4, 2005

art, daily life photographs & stories from the lives of ordinary Anabaptist church members from 17 countries around the world

conceived and curated by Ray Dirks

Canada, USA, Cuba, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan

site menu and information on the In God’s Image: A Global Anabaptist Family book follows the introduction


  • Culture, art, friendship, work, hardship, family, play, sadness, joy, faith.
  • Daily life photographs and art from 17 countries around the world.
  • A celebration of diversity and common faith.
  • All people equal. All created in the image of God.

Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and related churches can be found in 65 countries with membership worldwide over 1,300,000 in 2005. This exhibition is an introduction to some of the people who are involved in member churches of the Mennonite World Conference in 17 countries. It also introduces viewers to art from each participating nation.

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) is an international fellowship of Christian churches who trace their beginning to the 16th-century Radical Reformation in Europe, particularly to the Anabaptist movement. Today, approximately 1,300,000 believers belong to this faith family; at least 55 percent are African, Asian, or Latin American. (from the Mennonite World Conference website:

A Global Family of Faith

What do we know of the rest of the world? Often very little. Often only bad news. For example, for many millions the image of Africa is hidden in an impenetrable fog of HIV-AIDS, war, famine and corruption. While not denying the existence of the reasons for horror and despair, this exhibition sets out to introduce us to hope that can be found around the world — hope found in the lives of ordinary people through photographs and stories from their daily lives.

A deeper understanding and appreciation of a culture can also be discovered within the art of a nation. Therefore, this exhibition is a blend of art and daily life photographs from the 17 represented countries. Each photo gives viewers a literal window into a place, into everyday life we generally never see. Art opens a place’s soul. While this exhibition focuses on the lives of people within the global Anabaptist community it is designed with a broader audience in mind. The subjects, members of either Mennonite or Brethren in Christ congregations, in many ways are not unlike their neighbors, sharing culture and experiences. Viewers of all backgrounds can learn something about the lives of ordinary people and the art of the participating countries. This exhibition allows glimpses into lands east, west, north and south around the globe, a truly unusual opportunity for any viewer.

The exhibition came together over a three year period with reference, art gathering and commissioning trips beginning in August 2001. Genesis 1: 27 states “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” This declaration of the equality of all women and men drives the exhibit. Celebrating that fact, the exhibition presents all people, regardless of race, material wellbeing, age or gender as equal — equally important, equally respected, people of dignity based on what is inside them and not on the color of their skin, their age, gender or material wealth.

Contacts in all countries with Mennonite or Brethren in Christ groups were asked if they would like to participate in the exhibition. From those that responded a cross section of countries was chosen to broadly represent where the global Anabaptist family is at early in the 21st Century. Individuals or families were recommended by contacts in each country for Canadian curator Ray Dirks to visit. He asked to experience their lives as they do — eating together, taking public transport, sleeping in their homes, going to church together, participating in family outings, visiting markets, etc… At the same time he met artists and purchased and commissioned artworks. In some cases art was donated.

In God’s Image: A Global Anabaptist Family came together in order to begin a tour at the Assembly Gathered of Mennonite World Conference held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in August 2003. It opened first at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in July before moving to the assembly site in August. It spent 2004 in Europe.

This exhibition celebrates the theme of the 2003 Assembly Gathered of Mennonite World Conference, “Sharing Gifts in Suffering and in Joy”. Getting to know one another, even if just a little as this exhibition offers, allows us to see lives of hope and joy even in places we otherwise believe are without hope and joy. Accepting each other as equals — different but equal — moves us closer to justice and peace. Little else brings more hope and joy, and relieves suffering better, than justice and peace.

The exhibition is a project of the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery (MHCGallery) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Would you like to see In God’s Image in your area?

Contact curator Ray Dirks for information regarding bringing the tour of In God’s Image to your area. Within North America or Europe tour costs (shipping, insurance, etc…) must be picked up by the local hosts. If there is sufficient interest and a proper venue secured in a Global South country the curator will attempt to raise funds in order to cover costs. Exhibition costs will not be the responsibility of hosts in Global South countries. Dirks can be reached at: (204) 888-6781; and MHCGallery, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R3P 0M4.


curator/designer/writer/photographer, Ray Dirks Prayer Garden architect, Agatha Doerksen photo panel mounting, John Funk Jr., John Wieler, Michino Tsuboi, Ruth Maendel, Ruth Wood, Jenny Western, Jake Suderman, Warren Schmidt, Jane Zheng Mennonite Heritage Centre: Alf Redekopp, Connie Wiebe web, Grant Klassen the many women who helped Agatha bring the Prayer Garden together -- quilters and artists Katie, Lauren and Alexa Dirks
Peter and Anne Pauls, Henrique Ens, Alfred Pauls, Geraldo Dyck, Liesbeth Vogt Hiebert, Peter Siemens, Konrad Dueck
Felix Raphael Curbelo and Leyda Verde, Daniel Cabrera, José Ernesto Martin Torres, Maria Regla Reyes Coto, Jésus Lescano Peres and Maria E. Aguirre Calderon, Marcelino Mestre Elia and Martha Gonzalez Vega
Democratic Republic of Congo
Robert Neufeld, Mwaku Kinana, Mattieu Lelo, Rev. Ndunda
Kenna Dula, Aster Wolde, Bedru Hussein, Girma Teklu, Kebede Bekere
Max and Astrid Wiedmer
Stefan van Delden
Rufus Gurugulla, Gordon Nickel, Shearamma
Abang Rahino, Marthen Tahun, Taman Petra, Ulis Tatik, Lilik Setiyanto
Mari Iida, Yoshiko Harada, Gen and Michiko Tsuboi, Sally Ito, Gerald Neufeld
the Netherlands
Ineke and Peter Reinhold, Annelies Soomers, Pieter de Hart, Francien Risseeuw, Antje de Vries-van Dijk
Ewald and Katie Goetz, Ernesto and Elsa Unruh, Eduard Friesen, Melvin and Gudrun Warkentin, Hilde Amstutz
Debbie Lin, Paulus Pan, Joshua Chang, Chih-Chun Yuan
Doris Haak, Günter Meckelburger, Hermann Woelke, Milka Rindzinski, Hugo Moreira, Maria Jésus Otero, Eva Maria Bachmann
United States
Scott Jost, Doug and Joanne Ranck Dirks
Elijah Muchindu, Enock Shamapani, Leonard Hamasele, Abert Seemani, Daniel and Sophia Seemani
Ronald Lizwe and Su Moyo, Dothan and Sigqibile Moyo, Voti Thebe


DeFehr Foundation, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Central Committee Canada, Bill and Margaret Fast Family Foundation, Paul and Polly Wang, Herb and Erna Buller, Neil and Herta Janzen, Frank and Agnes DeFehr, Mari Iida, Larry and Jessie Kehler, Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, KidsPak (through Mennonite Church Canada Sunday Schools), Don and Gloria Dyck, Helen Pauls, Ray and Eleanor Martens, Lori Matties, Ingrid and Ron Lamp, Jubilee Mennonite Church, Dan and Yvonne Nighswander, Scott Jost, Robert and Lois Coleman Neufeld, anonymous donations

Special thanks to Mennonite World Conference: Larry and Eleanor Miller, Ken and Marilyn Langeman, Ronald Lizwe Moyo, Dothan Moyo, Ray Brubacher

Please forgive us for those who have been missed. Many more than listed above have helped. All, whether doing a little or a lot, were valuable.

contact: In God’s Image, Ray Dirks,; (204) 888-6781; 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 0M4.