The Winners of the 2022 Engage Art Contest

Engage Art | Artist to Artist, In the Know | August 10, 2022

Announcing Our Winners

Over the last few months, our panel of expert jurors carefully reviewed each of the nearly 800 artworks accepted into the Engage Art Contest. They narrowed the list according to artistic quality, and then again by considering both the power and artistry of the work. That gave us the Finalists—a short list of just 50 artworks.

We are now thrilled to announce the winners of the Engage Art Contest! 

These winners demonstrate mastery of their artistic medium along with an exceptional level of reflection on the Spiritual Battle. The artwork is original, excellent, thought-provoking, and worth repeated viewings to discover new layers. These artists reveal that the Scriptures are still speaking as a compelling source of artistic inspiration.

Video Arts Category—Honorable Mentions

Presented in alphabetical order:

“Bible”—by Kristian De la Vega (Philippines)

(performing arts—storytelling)

This surprising story revealed in freehand drawing and timelapse photography wins an Honorable Mention for Artistic Conception. We especially connected with the storytelling, which was enhanced by both the choice of both the music and the medium. One juror was brought to tears—twice!—and especially commends Kristian for the emotional impact of his video. 

“Entrevista con el Enemigo”—by Esteban Sisa (Ecuador)

(film—animation) 

Esteban’s superb animation and artistic vision wins an Honorable Mention for Animation. His images illustrate the spiritual battle with a vivid impact that live action can’t duplicate. The enemy’s attacks feel deeply true as satan morphs from one form to another, surrounding and overpowering our everyman—who eventually and decisively prays and turns to God for rescue. 

“I Found God in New York City”—by Mariah Barrera (USA)

(film—documentary)

“I Found God in NYC” is a beautiful, lyrical, uplifting documentary, and it wins an Honorable Mention for a Visual/Motion Poem. The film explores the tension in Mariah’s complex relationship with the Big Apple—equal parts disenchantment and love.

“Oluwa Is”—by Renee Joseph-Fortune (Trinidad and Tobago) 

(music video—gospel/inspirational)

“Oluwa Is” wins an Honorable Mention for Production and Artistic Expression. 

The cinematography and use of landscape (from barren red rock to lush green life), the color palette drawn from West African kitenge fabrics, and the impeccable choreography all enhance and illustrate the joyful message of Renee’s song.

“Swarm” —by Dawit Seto (Ethiopia) 

(performing arts, dance—modern)

“Swarm” wins an Honorable Mention for Cinematography and Movement. Choreographer and contemporary dancer Dawit writes: “Tracing the narrative of an ordinary Ethiopian citizen’s laborious existence in parallel with the life cycle of trees, ‘Swarm’ reveals the entangled relationship between nature and people . . . ‘Swarm’ is a witness [to the] current situation in Ethiopia, linking environmental issues to [the] humanitarian crisis engulfing Ethiopia at the moment. [. . .] Pandemic, civil war, [locusts], [drought]. This chaotic situation makes us more dependent on the Lord for strength and power.”

“Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free”—by Brian Mark (USA) 

(music video, classical)

“Your Huddled Masses” wins an Honorable Mention for Original Sound Design in the 2022 Engage Art Contest. With its new music composition, “Your Huddled Masses” explores the dark forces at work in our world—not only visible forces like disease and poverty, but the fear, division, strife, and suspicion that are pervasive throughout our society today.

Video Arts Category—Top Winners

“WORDS/Waiving Depression”By Jhenelle Lewis (Jamaica)—Alternate

(performing arts—spoken word)

“WORDS” won an Honorable Mention for Engagement with Contemporary Issues as well as placing as the Alternate for Video Arts. For this composition, Jhenelle drew inspiration from her own quest for peace. She writes: “For the past two years, I’ve been struggling with severe depression . . . I penned these words, reflecting on that time in my life when the sound of the river and God’s words were the only things that brought me peace.

“No Bed of Roses”By Bj’orn Pierre (Trinidad And Tobago)—3rd Place

(music video—alternative/indie) 

Bj’orn’s song and video, both filled with lush, melodious warmth, portray life as a journey full of ups and downs, a series of obstacles and invitations to lend a helping hand. This piece takes a closer look at spiritual warfare as an everyday, mundane occurrence. It shows how the middling level of distraction and discouragement can ultimately turn our eyes away from God and our spiritual walk. On the other hand, we also have daily opportunities to shift the experience of those around us, like a man singing his heart out on a public bus.

“Good vs Evil”By Robert Barrera A.K.a. Bobby Bendito (USA)—2nd Place

(music video—hip-hop/rap)

The production in “Good vs Evil” is excellent. Every shot is perfect. The lyrics are the star, recounting the spiritual battle in Bobby’s life—years battling poverty, grief, addiction, and violence, before a turning point of faith and healing. We love how Bobby varies his delivery throughout the video, skillfully weaving in 4 or 5 different rhythms, syncing with the flow of the melody while articulating content clearly and lyrically.

“The Fall of Sundersons”—by Jason Koch (USA)—1st Place

(film—comedy)

Our 1st-Place Winner for Video Arts, “The Fall of Sundersons,” was a true standout and our jury’s unanimous pick for 1st Place. Hitting every note flawlessly, this film had us laughing again and again. Yet the comedy in “Sundersons” drives an impact for viewers. Chuckling along, we can’t miss Jason’s central premise: The devil is persistent. The father of lies, he comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. It is essential not to give him any foothold in our lives. We don’t have to be epic heroes, just people rooted in Scripture when old temptations knock at the door. For all of these reasons—theological, artistic, thematic—this film was the clear choice for 1st Place. 

Visual Arts Category—Honorable Mentions

Presented in alphabetical order: 

“Cast Your Face”—by Frances Allen (USA)

(sculpture)

Frances writes: “When the world is battling, we are called to obedience by casting our face through the mess to Christ, who is capable of transforming any situation. The graphite drawing that is looking at the carved head represents the battling, a looming scarred face versus a fragile figure that has fallen. This illustrates the spiritual and societal battles that we face today.”

“Eternal Victory”—by Brandon Maddox (USA)

(painting) 

Brandon writes: “The young wrestler in the painting is physically fit, which is representative of the work we must do in preparation for any battles we will face. . . Just as he has exercised his physical muscle, we must exercise our spiritual muscles by being in constant prayer with our Heavenly Father Jehovah, as well as studying and meditating His Word for clear guidance in times of trials and opposition.”

“Hebróm”—by Russbelt Guerra Carranza (Peru)

(drawing and painting)

Notice how each artwork in this series depicts the central figure in their battle against evil. Each work in this triptych could stand on its own; yet together, they offer a complex reflection on the nature of evil and the spiritual battle in our world today.

“Humano”—by Sofia Minjarez (USA)

(photography)

Sofia captured an everyday experience and transformed it into a parable about noticing God’s blessings in our lives.

“OLTRE (BEYOND)”—by Giuseppe Petrone (Italy)

(photography)

In a single photograph, Giuseppe captures the duality of the spiritual journey: the battle between trying to hide and allowing yourself to be seen, between covering your eyes and choosing to look.

“Sleep Baby”—by Uktam Isirgapov (Uzbekistan)

(painting)

We love Uktam’s vision in “Sleep Baby” and his exploration of the contrast between the waking world (grounded in the black-and-white woman at the bottom of the scene) and a utopian dream world, ascending past the angels and culminating in two brightly colored portraits.

“A String of Desire, Leading to Hope”—by Hee Jin Roh (Korea)

(painting)

Hee Jin writes: “Each life has its own path, and the journey is intertwined with chance and inevitability. Along the way, we often encounter two forked paths and enjoy the trembling freedom of making choices.”

“Two Sisters”—by Ricardo Araújo (France)

(photography)

Consider the Artist Statement: “Ambiguity looms in this quiet scene. The nuns advance in synchrony across the empty ‘Platerías’ square, deserted except for a mute pigeon waddling by. They will soon reach the crisp shade of the ancient cathedral whose great granite spires conjure cavernous shadows, the talons of a ghastly beast, ready to snatch them from the gleaming pavement. But could those be the gentle fingers of a divine hand? One that waits to receive the sisters in pleasant shade, to guard the weary pair from the scorching sun of noon? . . . The image, like faith, exists in a space of apparent contradictions.”

“What Lurks in the Shadows”—by Camille Koslo (USA)

(photography/digital manipulation)

Camille writes: “I wanted to create an artwork based on the figurative expression: ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing.’ I liked the idea of having this innocent child’s stuffed animal, but in the shadows lurks something much more sinister.”

“Wind from the Stars”—by Peter Camp (USA)

(drawing/lithograph)

Peter writes: “The top part . . . is meant to convey the refreshing good breeze blowing on a fair day. The bottom part . . . transitions into more sinister, foreboding, and evil looking elements. The restorative breeze and the overweighing sinister elements are both present. Such is the war that continues now between good and evil.”

“The Wings of Joy and Grace”—by Pamela Chiasson (USA)

(mixed media collage)

Crafted from Bible pages, the feathered wings represent God’s protection. Pamela writes: “The Wings of Joy and Grace’ is created to bring Love, Hope and Grace into the world.” 

“Woman Clothed with the Sun”—by Nicora Gangi (USA)

(pastels)

“Woman Clothed with the Sun” is a still life rendered in pastels that draws symbolically from the Book of Revelation. Nicora writes: “This pastel drawing illustrates the battle of His people against the unseen forces in the heavenly realms . . . The objects chosen for this pastel drawing are all in relation to this battle.”

Visual Arts Category—Top Winners

“Jesus Weeping at Lazarus’s Tomb”—by Jerry Dienes (USA) —Alternate

(painting)

The skillful composition in this painting—a collage of emotions disguised as portraits—allows the viewer to move from face to face without the painting losing its overall cohesion. Every face is alive with feeling as each person responds individually to this close encounter with death, the final enemy.

“Fearless”—by Sandra Ceas (USA)—3rd Place

(sculpture)

Sandra crafted “Fearless” from black-and-white magazine pages that she rolled into tubes and assembled into a taut composition that represents a shield, a cross, and a star all at once. Can you see them? There is both a fragility and a stability in the work. The composition shows the arrows of attack moving inward and the defense pushing out. The long vertical tube in the center is capped in white and exudes a strong sense of victory. The immediacy and boldness in “Fearless” emerges from the limited palette and the shape of the cross and the star.

“Alexia”—by Ivan Pokidyshev (Russia)—2nd Place

(oil painting)

“Alexia” stands in the honorable tradition of Orthodox iconography. The nun gazes at the viewer, and her eyes speak volumes. What does she say? Every viewer might find something different in her expression. The gold background is a clear reference to the Byzantine tradition—with a twist. While tradition would surround the saint with abstract gold leaf, suggesting a celestial, heavenly location, the nun in “Alexia” stands solidly in the fields of Earth. Wheatfields unroll behind her, ripe for the harvest. Yet trampled stalks and tall thistles stand before her and on both sides. The parables of Matthew 13 come to mind, including the parable of the four soils, in which the weeds threaten to choke out the fruit of the farmer’s seed, and the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30, in which enemies sow weeds into the wheatfield. 

“LAST SUPPER XXI” —by Piotr Franciszek Barszczowski (Poland)—1st Place

(photography and digital art)

Calling it “perhaps the most important work presented to us,” the jury awarded 1st Place in Visual Arts to “LAST SUPPER XXI” by Dr. Piotr Franciszek Barszczowski. With a unique “new stained glass” medium (digital “paint” Piotr created from thousands of macro photographs of bread and wine), Piotr created a vast artwork (over 3 meters/10 feet tall) depicting the Last Supper with an approach both unexpected and deeply informed by art history. The compelling composition takes full advantage of the stark contrast between light and dark. The bright white light, shining from above, illuminating the table, radiates outward, but it is still surrounded and encompassed by darkness. This tension does not resolve. Instead, it brings us into a place that has no resolution, no pat answers, but rather invites us to investigate. “LAST SUPPER XXI” represents the culmination of decades of study and spiritual journey for Piotr, who created this artwork in response to a time of spiritual crisis and as an encouragement to others in their own times of crisis.

A Final Word

Juror Nadya Molugova—Director of the Florence Classical Arts Academy—said, “It was wonderful to engage artists from diverse backgrounds, tastes, aesthetics and schools of thought, coming together across different perspectives.” She added, “I can’t wait to see the powerful art pieces some of these artists will create in the future,” and for those passed over this time, “I can see we might be choosing them in a few years.” 

Well done to these exceptional artists. Over the coming months, we’ll be going in depth with many of these winners, taking a closer look at the artworks and the artists who created them. We commend and thank them for sharing their creativity with us all. 

Additionally, we joyfully celebrate the hundreds of gifted and creative individuals around the world who participated in the 2022 Engage Art Contest! Please be sure to browse the Gallery and engage all the inspiring artwork you’ll find there. The 2022 Engage Art Contest was our third contest, and in the online Gallery you will find more than 2,000 pieces of original Scripture-inspired artwork from artists all over the world. Explore this online free collection, read more about the artists who made your favorites, and take some time today to Engage Culture, Engage Scripture, and Engage Art.

Submit Your Artwork Today!

Curious? Interested in submitting artwork to our contest? Know someone who might be? Through April 14th, 2022, the Engage Art Contest is open to the whole world! Get your foot in the door by claiming your Artist Page now!