Late on a Friday night, Trung Pham, S.J., Seattle University assistant professor of Fine Arts stood among 100 sacred statues at Arrupe Jesuit Residence. With help from Mike Bayard, S.J., director of campus ministry, there was a flurry of activity as they carefully wrapped and nested each sculpted statue in its own cardboard box.
Father Pham, who joined the faculty in 2012, has an interest in sustaining and promoting sacred art-especially Vietnamese sacred art-which moved him to sculpt "Me Ao Nau" (Our Lady in Vietnamese four-panel traditional dress).
"We don't have a lot of sacred images that have Vietnamese features," he says. "My sculpture introduces a cultural dimension of sacred art."
Fr. Pham's sacred sculptures project was a fundraiser for Vietnamese Martyrs Parish, south of campus. In just one weekend, he sold 70 of the 100 sculptures and raised $1,000 for the parish.
Some of the plaster sculptures, each with a protective coating of paint, are still for sale. Prospective buyers can contact Fr. Pham directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 220-8243.
A show of Fr. Pham's work called "Mother" continues through July 15 at the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery on the third floor of Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave. He also recently was featured in Northwest Vietnamese News, a primary source of information for and about the Vietnamese community in Washington state.
- Annie Beckmann