Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night 2017

Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night 2017

At Sight Night: The Joy of Sight, we featured local art in our silent auction. Each artist read through the Sight.org blog and then created art inspired by those stories. We are blown away at the talent of each one of these artists! They truly captured the heart and mission of Sight.org. Below, you can see each piece of art and the stories behind them. You can see more photos from the event here.

 

 

Cairo Reyes

“Being Free”

Resin / Acrylic

Inspired by the blog story, “Meheza Means “I Am Free”

 

 

Umeki Earl-Nelson

“Meheza: “I Am Free”

textiles/fabrics

Inspired by the blog story, “Meheza Means “I  Am Free”

This is a painting of Meheza, the Togo Director of SIght.org. Meheza has been in the United States for three weeks. She attended Sight Night and got to see this painting of her. From the second she saw the painting, she said numerous times, “I wish I could buy that painting for myself!” The person who bid on this painting felt led to give this painting to Meheza, not even knowing that she wanted it. When she presented the painting to Meheza at the end of the night, everyone had tears in their eyes.

 

 

 

Rosemary Nichols Swann

“Elizabeth”

Gouache and acrylic on archival board

Inspired by the blog story, “Elizabeth”

 

 

Monique Dorsey

“In My Father’s Arms”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Story of an African Father”

 

 

Carrie McFerron

“An Infinity of Trees”

Digital Collage

Inspired by the blog story, “Hungry for Jesus”

The artist was especially inspired by the house church meeting under a mango tree.  She said, “I kept thinking about how God put that mango tree in that spot so that people could learn about Jesus. The planting of a tree to enable the planting of a church seemed like such a perfect parallel. So I looked for a verse that conveyed the concept and came upon Psalm 96:12, ‘Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy,’ which made me thing of a forest of churches that could be planted as a result of the gathering under the village mango tree. Hence, I made an image with a wreath of trees, creating an infinite number of churches. When you read all of Psalm 96, you realize how missional this Psalm is, which is very rare for the Old Testament! Verse 3 says, ‘Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all the peoples.’ Verse 7 says, ‘Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.'”

 

 

Carrie McFerron

“Edem”

Paper Cutting

Inspired by the blog story, “Hungry for Jesus”

Edem is a popular name for Togolese boys. The name is derived from African-Ewe and means “God has saved me.” The little boy I have depicted in this paper cutting represents a future child who will be born to Christian parents, and who will also become a Christian, as a result of the Sight.org team planting a church in his village. Just as a tree is symbolic for Edem’s church, Edem represents one of the leaves on that tree. Each leaf behind Edem in the paper cutting is a reminder of the many new Christians in Edem’s village and in other villages across Togo because of Sight.org’s work.

 

 

 Amanda Slaughter

“Grace Chairs”

Two Chairs with Seat covers that are hand painted by artist

Inspired by the blog story, “Weary of Serving, Give What You Can”

The artist stated, “I have sang and played music my whole life. It is one of the things I love to do. In the car, at home, in the studio, the grocery store. I sing everywhere I go and so do the kiddos. Song is free and a gift from God. I am made these chairs for two reasons. 1. Because just like our sight, having chairs to sit in is a luxury we often do not think about and too often take for granted. 2. Sitting and singing/harmonizing with someone is one of the most joyous events we can share with another human being. These chairs are fully functioning with actual paintings covering the seats. The original painting has the word grace written on it in many different ways. My hope is that these chairs are incorporated into someone’s home or business where song and laughter can be shared, stories can be told and meals can be eaten all while sitting on Grace.”

 

Mary Evelyn Tucker 

Farming God’s Way”

Watercolor on Archival Paper

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

“This piece was inspired by the training Sight.org is doing in Togo. Leaders are being trained in modern farming methods which produce ten times more produce than traditional methods for the area. My dad was a landscaper for over 30 years and I’ve grown to appreciate any and all forms of planting. God is so good to provide us with a simple way to provide for ourselves.”

 

Lisa Rachel Horlander 

“Germination”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

 

 

Lisa Rachel Horlander

Plethora

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “Connection Between Farming and Eye Surgeries”

 

 

Becky Chelf

“Matthew: 18:20″

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by a story on the Sight.org Facebook page.  “A woman named Sofoura came to us to look at her eyes. Her sister-in-law was very hateful to her and hit her in the eye. She hit her so hard that she developed a traumatic cataract. We told her to come to the April eye surgeries to see if our Sight.org medical team could remove the cataract. As we talked to her, she told us that she had an infection in her fingers that caused them to swell. They were so painful that she could not sleep. We prayed over her hands and then took her to the hospital to pay for treatment on her hands.”

 

 

Nicole Root

“They Once Were Blind but Now They See”

Charcoal and Color Pencil

Inspired by the general work of giving sight to the blind in Togo, Africa. The artist stated, “God has created so many wonderful things, one of which are eyes. The eye can express so many different things, pain, joy, anger, etc. I was inspired to give this piece because the eye stands out, and I take for granted the face that I can see. I want others to experience the joy I see every day. I thank our heavenly Father for this opportunity to shine the light of Christ.”

 

 

Stephanie Nickel

“Neighbors”

Oil on Canvas

Inspired by the blog story, “The Faces of Adjon”  “They meet in the middle of their village, where everyone can hear them. Their praises cannot be ignored.”
In this abstract piece, shapes emerge giving an allusion of buildings-houses or perhaps a church. A grouping of muffled figures appear, gathered closely together. They are other worldly, seemingly floating in space. The title of the piece is “Neighbors.” Jesus tells us that we are to love our neighbors and have mercy on them, making it clear that we are all neighbors.

 

 

Ashlie Bailey 

“Now I See You”

Watercolor on Archival Paper

Inspired by the general work done by Sight.org.

The painting above is of a blind harbor seal I met a few years ago named Porter. Porter was rescued and now lives at Moody Gardens. I believe that everyone deserves healing, and everyone deserves the gift of sight. I was so touched and inspired by this seals perseverance that I started a series of watercolor portraits of what he might look like if his eyes were completely restored, healed, and he were no longer blind.

 

 

Cynthia Mullen Hitchcock

“I Once Was Blind But Now I See, John 9:25″

Acrylic on Canvas

Inspired by the heart of the administration of Sight.org and the passion and compassion they have as a team for those that can’t. It just takes one to have a heart to make a difference. Can we all join in with that heart? In this painting it just shows a few of the lives they have changed from surgeries, to church plantings, prayers and nutrition. In the center of the painting starts from the hearts that started this program and how it spreads from one heart to another.

 

 

Angie Tellman           

“Off Riding on the Road”

Watercolor on archival paper

Inspired by the early work of Sight.org. Before we had an ambulance, teams set out to remote areas on motor bikes in order to do eye surgeries. The lush foliage and red earth is abundant in Togo.

 

 

 Angie Tellman

“Portrait of a Boy”

Watercolor on archival paper

Inspired by the Sight.org mission statement: All people are redeemable through Christ’s finished work on the cross, and we believe He died so that we could carry His light to the ends of the earth. By His grace, we have been redeemed to bring light to the BLIND, the UNREACHED, and the MALNOURISHED in Togo, Africa.

This painting is of one of the many faces of Togo where malnutrition causes cataracts. Sight.org not only performs cataract surgery, but also educates best farming practices.

 

 

 

 

Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night

Stories Behind the Art at Sight Night

Last week, we had our first annual Sight Night: The Joy of Sight.

It featured local art inspired by or related to the work we do in Togo. In case you didn’t get to attend, we would love to share the art and the stories behind the art with you. We are so thankful for each artist and their contribution to our ministry.

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Through the art alone, we were able to raise over $6000 for sight restoring surgeries. Total raised from the entire event was over $32,000! That equals 213 eye surgeries!

Go to our Facebook page to see photos from the event.

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Lisa Rachel Horlander
“Serene Epiphany”
oil on canvas

When we first talked to Lisa about our event, she got so excited because she already has a passion for visual impairment and has a whole series of work based on this theme. We are so thankful to have Lisa on our team of artists for this show!

Statement from artist:
“Our individual view of a moment can be hindered by impaired sight, whether it’s a physical handicap or atmospheric conditions, which will determine how we visually interpret something. This painting is designed to give the viewer a similar experience of impaired sight but with only the distilled beauty of light and color.”

Story from Sight.org:
We felt that the story of Jeanaway went along perfectly with this painting.

 

 

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Lindsay Boone
“Earth Has No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal”
oil on gold leaf

Statement from artist:
“On a metro in Paris, I sat across from an exhausted, distracted Muslim woman. We rode together for perhaps thirty minutes, and she never made eye contact, never smiled, never glanced around. She just…waited. She was beautiful, with a sharp profile and yards of fabric about her, and I managed to take a few pictures of her on my phone without her noticing. In the picture, she is bowed in fatigue and irritation, waiting for the ride to be over. But in the painting, she is bowed in fatigue and reverence, awaiting the sweet relief of the Father’s love. The gold leaf is a shining allusion to the imprint of God on all humanity, and to the divine Presence exhibited in the common grace of Christ, which showers even those who are unaware of it. She may be blind to the beauty of God’s reality, but one hopes that one day she will truly see.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Our greatest passion is to share the love of Christ, which drives our desire to serve. By projecting the Jesus Film, evangelizing door-to-door, and providing discipleship through local ministry partners, we share the good news in a country where 295,000 people have never heard the gospel of Jesus.”

 

 

www.facebook.com/callynthphotography #callynthphotography

Aaron Nguyen
“Friends”
printed art on wine bottle

Statement from the artist’s mother:
“This past summer my husband and I created our own bottle of wine when we were in Napa at Judds Hill. We came up with the recipe ourselves, mixed it, bottled it, corked it, and labeled it all by hand. We asked our son Aaron to name the wine and make the artwork for the label. He named it “Friends” and sent us a picture of his first masterpiece he created when he was 6 years old. The value of the wine is priceless since it’s “handmade”. Aaron would love to donate this to Sight.org.”

Story of Aaron and his involvement with Sight.org:
“Last year, Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org, visited with the 3rd-5th grade students at The Brook Hill School. When one of Brook Hill’s third grade students, Aaron, heard about Sight.org, his heart broke for the blind in Africa and he decided to do something about it.

“Every Christmas I get a big gift, so I told my parents that I wanted my big gift this year to be sunglasses for the blind in Africa,” Aaron explained. “So we went to the Dollar General and the manager let us in the back so that we could pick out sunglasses. We got 108 sunglasses for children and adults, boys and girls.”

“We then met Lewis at a coffee shop and gave him the sunglasses,” Aaron continued. Aaron’s family also donated funds for a surgery along with the sunglasses. “Sunglasses are vital to a successful surgery,” Swann commented. “Without them, patient’s eyes are too exposed to light and it leads to a bad treatment.”

Swann left for Togo shortly after receiving the sunglasses from Aaron and his family. During his trip, nearly 80 patients received sight and also received sunglasses from Aaron. The rest have since been given to other patients receiving the surgery.

During his trip, Swann and his wife took pictures and made a book for Aaron with many of the patients wearing his sunglasses and holding up signs like “Yay God!” and “Aaron Rocks!” When we asked Aaron how he felt when he looked at the book, he said “Happy. It feels good to know that these people can see.” “I am so proud of Aaron for stepping out to make life better for others,” Swann said. “There is a light shining in Togo and Aaron is a part of that light! Aaron realizes that he doesn’t have to be a surgeon to make miracles happen. His love for the poor in action has changed the lives of others forever!”

Excerpt from the Brook Hill School website

 

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Monique Dorsey
“Eyes of Joy”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“I have been so touched by Sight.org’s work.  I personally know the Rileys, who are missionaries in Togo with Sight.org.  They have been a part of my prayer group for a long time.  They are wonderful, Christ filled people who have a heart to serve Him.  They have been in Togo since February of this year working for Sight.org.  I was so moved by Elaine’s posts about all the children and the lives they are touching with Christ’s ministries.  I wanted my piece to reflect the masses being affected, that’s why there are three faces, each a little different.  Their eyes are meant to reflect not just their physical vision restored but their spiritual vision come to light!  May God continue to bless your wonderful works for His Kingdom!” 

Story from Sight.org’s missionaries:
“We have been drawn especially to the Togolese children.

They are pure innocence and beautiful and they love to see “Yovos” or “white people.” We hear their giggles and laughs and chants, “Yovo, Yovo, Bonsoir Yovo” as we pass by and we always give them silly waves.  I always take pics of all the children we come across as they have my heart!  They love looking at their own picture and try to figure out how it’s done!

“Let the little children come unto me” Mark 10:14

You can be a part of these great works by making a donation whether modest or great. We rely on our donors to provide these surgeries each month in these poor villages in the country of Togo. Won’t you make a difference today?”

 

 

god

Amanda Slaughter
“God”
mixed media on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This painting came from the idea that no matter how much we mess up, God’s grace cleans us white as snow….what a blessing!  And then we sparkle. (Cue the glitter)”

Statement from Sight.org:
All people are redeemable through Christ’s finished work on the cross, and we believe He died so that we could carry His light to the ends of the earth. By His grace, we have been redeemed to serve: The Blind, The Unreached, and The Malnourished in Togo, Africa.”

 

 

malibow

Rosemary Swann
“Malibow”
oil on panel

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by a woman named Malibow. She had epilepsy and the medical team at Sight.org prayed over her.”

Story from Sight.org:
“During that time, many came with very sad conditions. One lady suffered from epilepsy, and one of her episodes led her to fall into a fire where she severely burned her face. Sadly, this is very common for people with epilepsy in Africa, and such people are often treated as outcasts. In her own words, she had no one.

Deep hurt and shame was plainly seen in her eyes. People like this often hear people say bad things to them. She hears that she is cursed, a nobody, and much worse. I asked some of our team to pray over her with me. We began, and the tears ran down her face. It’s hard to describe, and I have only seen it a few times with this level of clarity, but it was very clear to everyone praying that God was bringing major restoration in her life. To the point of convulsion, she wept throughout the five minutes we prayed over her. Then, when it was all over, joy was all over her face. At that moment, she had received Christ.

The next day, she came to our first church service. She was in the back corner, looking up and praising God. Before, she was drenched in shame, and now, she is restored. One of our pastors went to talk to her, and she explained that something happened during our prayer, and that she knows that her life is forever changed. It’s so clear to see a life restored by God. As I looked into her eyes, it was like I was looking at a totally different person. God is so good.

God is so good.”

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Restored”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This man is featured on the website where he is shown before and after surgery. He is now able to care and provide for his family.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“This man’s name is Ouro. He is 72 years old and lives in the village of Badou in Togo. He is so thankful to have his sight back.”

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Blind Soccer”
Watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This piece was inspired by a picture on the Sight.org blog of children playing soccer. With or without vision, boys enjoy playing. I was moved by the joy and energy of the photograph.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“At our farm in Togo, many children come every afternoon to play soccer. God has given us opportunities to love on these children in many ways. One child, named Chris, has become very dear to us. He has Sickle Cell Anemia and was abandoned by his parents. His grandma takes care of him, but our medical team and missionaries have also started sharing in the responsibility of taking care of him. They feed him and take him to his doctor’s visits.

We also see many children with cataracts or other visual impairments. Cataracts are found in all ages in Togo due to malnutrition and lack of medical resources. We are able to remove the cataracts and give children back their sight.”

 

 

 

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Angie Tellman
“Waiting for Sight”
watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“This painting is a visual reminder that blindness can be frightening. The child is pictured in a room where he cannot see colors all around him.”

Statement from Sight.org:
We see many children with cataracts or other visual impairments. Cataracts are found in all ages in Togo due to malnutrition and lack of medical resources. Praise the Lord that we are able remove the cataracts and give children back their sight and their life.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Togo View”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by the beautiful landscape of Togo, Africa.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“The country of Togo has captured the hearts of the Sight.org team. We will be serving there as long as God tells us to. Village by village we share the gospel, help the blind, improve nutrition, teach community health, perform visual analysis, support local pastors and refer illnesses outside of their criteria with the information needed for care.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Walk by Faith”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is based on a blog post from the Riley’s (Sight.org missionaries) about the hill they climb every Sunday to get to church in Togo.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Our missionaries, Elaine and Wayne Riley, have been in Togo for eight months. They took a huge step of faith to become missionaries. They left their children, grandchildren, and home church to go to a country they had never been to before. Elaine worked with Sight.org in Tyler for a year as our Event Coordinator, as God stirred her heart to go to Togo. We are thankful for their obedience to God as they serve the people of Togo.”

 

 

 

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Mary Evelyn Tucker
“Ishaka’s Mountain”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece is inspired by Ishsaka, the surgery sterilizer at Sight.org. This is the mountain he likes to climb after all eye surgeries are completed.”

The story of Ishaka:
https://sight.org/2016/06/smiling-ishaka/

 

 

 

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Becky Chelf
“From Darkness to Light”
oil on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This piece was inspired by the agriculture work that Sight.org does in Togo. They teach people to use modern farming techniques so that they get better nutrition. When the people get better nutrition, they can help future generations to not have as many cataracts.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“Eye diseases in West Africa are largely affected by malnutrition, and 2.5 million people in Togo are malnourished. At our agriculture training facility, we train farming students in modern farming techniques that create ten times the production of traditional farming. After training, the students return to their respective villages, resulting in a ripple effect that impacts the lives of hundreds.”

 

 

 

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Amy Proctor
“The Joy of Sight I”
acrylic on canvas 

Statement from the artist:
“This is inspired by the theme of The Joy of Sight. Bright colors make me joyful and bring joy to my heart just seeing them. The beautiful colors with the eyes reminds me of the joy of having sight.”

A story from Sight.org:
https://sight.org/2015/11/they-said-i-was-old/

 

 

 

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Amy Proctor
“The Joy of Sight II”
acrylic on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This is inspired by the theme of The Joy of Sight. Bright colors make me joyful and bring joy to my heart just seeing them. The beautiful colors with the eyes reminds me of the joy of having sight.”

A story from Sight.org:
https://sight.org/2015/12/guiybiebe-sees-for-the-first-time-in-9-years/

 

 

 

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Nicole F. Root
“Psalm 103:1-4”
pencil and watercolor on paper

Statement from the artist:
“I was captured by a photo in the Sight.org story “Extending Christ’s Healing Hand to the Blind.” I was inspired by the posture of praise and the face of gratitude in this woman. It shows how we all should be praising the Lord, even if we weren’t healed of physical blindness, because of the great thing that He did for us by dying for our sins. Sight.org’s ministry is so wonderful. I thank the Lord for the work that is going on in Togo.”

Statement from Sight.org:
“The woman featured in this art is named Pauline. She is 54 years old and has had a cataract for three years. She had her own business, but being blind in one eye made it very hard for her to sell merchandise. We praise Jesus that He enabled us to restore her sight! Our medical team travels to some of the poorest and most remote parts of Togo in order to share the good news of Christ while extending Christ’s healing hand to the blind. So many lives are touched by this group, and through them, many are coming to know Christ.”

 

 

 

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Jan Widner
Decisions 2”
oil on canvas

Statement from the artist:
“This is second in the series, “Decisions”.  Every day we are confronted with issues that require decisions. Some are life changing crossroads, some are simply minor choices.  All impact our lives. In this painting, the multitude of shapes and colors intermingle with directional black lines.  These close relationships illustrate how our decisions intimately affect our lives as well as those around us.”

Statement from Lewis Swann, founder of Sight.org:
“In 2010, I signed up for a three-year volunteer services in West Africa aboard Mercy Ships, a charity which offers free medical care in the world’s poorest nations. I was working in Public Relations, and I was exposed to a level of need that was beyond comprehension. I felt good serving others, but there was still a void in my heart, and God seemed as distant as ever.

Living amongst mature Christians, I tried to conceal my sinful vices. Growing sick of living in hypocrisy, I became inspired by the Christians around me. They were serving with joyful love beyond what I knew, and I wanted what they had.

Desperate, I began reading the New Testament with the intent to fully live out the Christian life as depicted in the Bible. Amazed by the gospel’s message of undeserving love and grace, I discovered a side of Jesus I had never grasped. I began to have a growing burden in my heart for others, especially for those who did not know Christ.

Then one day, God told me to talk to a pastor named Peter in Togo, Africa. I asked Peter if he had a calling. Peter explained that God showed him a vision of blind people in the rural villages, and that he was suppose to go and restore sight to these people while sharing the Gospel. I knew that God wanted me to support Peter’s calling.

Then Sight.org was born!”

 

 

 

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Alexis Hughes
“Contours of Cold” 
watercolor and graphite on paper

Statement from the artist:
“Air is heavy, enduring and permanent. Mass is fleeting. Solitude is vibrant, vital, and optimistic. Logic is altered but we still regain our place in the world through memory. Memory is equilibrium. My paintings are selective and ideals of the truth. They are reflections of my past, the days that I have drawn out in my mind as precious time. The landscape provides stillness and solitude, a moment to reconnect to a personal history within the world.

My work is a metaphor for time, memory, and perception. I formally investigate the visual perception of light and color, the personal experience of both remembering and inventing, and the illusive nature of time. I seek imagery that is constantly moving such as light and water as my platform to explore such philosophies.”

 

 

 

 

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ASHLIE BAILEY
“His Eyes”
woodburning watercolor and gouache

Statement from the artist:
“I choose do a picture of the horse in revelation based on the passage in revelation that describes the eyes of Jesus.

Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

 

 

 

 

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NOBLE JOHNSON
“The Golden Hind”
ship in a lightbulb

Statement from the artist:
“A light bulb is all about seeing in the dark. Hence the ship in a light bulb instead of a bottle. The ship is the Golden Hind, the first English Ship to circumnavigate the globe. Further, the Golden Hind is one of the most colorful ships of historical importance.”

Statement from Sight.org:
The artist, Noble Johnson, is a friend and supporter of Wayne and Elaine Riley who are our missionaries in Togo. They have gone across the world to serve the people of Togo and share the light of Jesus with them. We are thankful for the Rileys and for all of their supporters.”

 

 

 

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JOHN DEATON
“Heiwa”
Photograph

Statement from the artist:
“Photography is what drives me. My years of darkroom work have now been replaced by a computer, printers, ICC profiles, and the like. Life evolves and so has my equipment, technique, and tastes. Along the way I’ve married, raised sons, earned college degrees, and earned a living treating eye issues at a large clinic in Texas. I love my job; I love photography; I’m blessed!”

Statement from Sight.org:
“We are thankful for this photograph that was donated by John Deaton. He is an optometrist at DeHaven Eye Clinic here in Tyler. More and more optometrists in Tyler are getting involved with Sight.org in various ways. We have optometrists who give $1 to Sight.org for every eye exam they perform. We also have optometry clinics who collect eyeglasses for us. There are many ways that local optometrists can get involved with Sight.org.”

 

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