This year at Sandals Church, we reinterpreted the Easter story through the style of Dada. Using photomontage, assemblage and other mediums of art, we took a look at Jesus’ work on the cross and what it meant for all of humanity.
From 1916-1924, the German Dada style took over the art world with its over-the-top aesthetic. The movement embraced the grotesque, nonsense and destruction in the world. It sought to tear everything apart and put it back together with a new message in a way that people had never seen before. It was a blatant revolt against tradition and familiarity and one of the first art movements that didn’t focus on creating images that looked pretty, but on conveying the most extreme emotion through the compositions.
“There is a great negative work of destruction to be accomplished. We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits, who rend one another and destroy the centuries.” -1918 Dada Manifesto, Tristan Tzara
While Dada revolted against the establishment, Jesus revolted against religion. In true Dada form, we redeemed a movement known for destruction and sacrilege and used it to build an aesthetic that honors the holy.
The Dada style realized and embraced the fact that sometimes, the most beautiful things are those that have been broken down, torn apart and repurposed for something new. The Easter story and Jesus’ work on the cross is the ultimate example of the Dada ideal. Everything in all of creation was torn apart. Everything anyone had ever known was ripped from its context and put back together in a way that we could have never imagined.
Life defeated death.
Hope invaded hurt.
Light emerged from darkness.
One of the stylistic identifiers of the Dada movement is the use of a medium called photomontage. In this technique, existing images were cut out of papers and reassembled. Art was ripped from the original context to create a new one. We used the photomontage form to pull images from their original context and repurpose them to point to Jesus and his work on the cross throughout the Sandals Church website, social media, fine art and service elements.
Main Campus Lobby Gallery
Another popular Dada technique was assemblage. In this style, artists created sculptures out of found materials. They took objects or forms that were understood by the public and changed the context to create a deeper and different meaning than the parts individually suggested. We used this style as we transformed the lobby of Sandals Church Main Campus into a Dada art gallery.
When viewing these images and sculptures, see what you can extract from the piece. Consider questions like “How does this make me feel?” and “What aspect of the Easter story does this remind me of?” Some were much easier to decipher than others and some were intentionally created to be more abstract and open for personal interpretation.
Gallery Photos by Aaron Cheney & Danita Brooks
Junior Designer: Emily Poulin