The Bintana cafe is where visiting American artists Sophia and Yesenia love to hang out. Tucked away in a quiet alley in Cebu with paintings decorating its walls, the coffee shop is a hub for the city's young arts scene, a place to make connections and draw inspiration.
Sophia and Yesenia were in the Philippines, completing the final leg of Incarnate, a four-month mission training and discipleship program for artists run by Inspiro Arts Alliance, a ministry of OM.
Nineteen artists joined Incarnate 2022 in Budapest. They experienced community life learning together before splitting into groups for ministry placement in Bosnia, Cebu and Surigao, also in the Philippines, to work with local artists alongside an OM team.
"The ministry placement trains artists to be more effective in cross-cultural mission through the arts. Art expression differs in every culture and is a powerful platform to share the Gospel and help people to worship God," said Australian Dileep Ratnaike, Inspiro Arts Alliance Arts Catalyst for East Asia and Associate Director.
Dileep has been involved in many facets of Incarnate over the years, more recently with OM in Cebu to facilitate Sophia and Yesenia's stay. The ladies were there to also connect with local artists and learn about local art and its influence on culture to create a community arts project. In response, Sophia and Yesenia created an art exhibition as their project, held in the University of Philippines Cebu art gallery.
The two artists worked with seven local artists and the university's fine arts department to showcase 30 artworks. They wanted to create something new by applying a modern twist to traditional Filipino art, for example, using modern silk screen painting on traditional fabrics.
The exhibition was eye-opening for some Filipino people who had not realised the extent of the country's art heritage.
Living and working with people from another culture was an unforgettable experience for the artists, one that they will take with them into future arts ministry.