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The following Nativities are each displayed in a unique permanent setting created by Marian Library Crèche Collection volunteers. The descriptive text for each was written by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Ghana nativity set

African Symphony
Mohammed Amin

This scene of sober beauty by prize-winning artist Amin from Ghana, conveys some of the tranquil and serene depth of people who know themselves to be in tune with ebb and flow – the tides of life.

The scenery which forms the backdrop suggests a wide open space, infinity couched in the hazy topography of endless vales and mountain ranges. Rolling in from the front of the set, green battles brown. Its gaining ground but periodically has to retreat again. This is the law of nature in two times, two movements: a season of rain and life, and a season of drought and death. The figures match this African symphony. Firmly grounded in the green color of life, they are a monument to hope, growth and future. Each one of them is a world in itself, beautiful and fragile. What unites these little worlds is mother and child reclining on a carpet made of colorful fabric. The threads of tender bonding, though invisible but felt, bring this African symphony to completion.

– ML.1124.01

Ghana nativity set

Law of the Jungle
Joana Lekia Nelson

Will the tangled thicket of luxuriant vegetation overcome all barriers and engulf the big-eyed, colorful dolls and what they stand for? As a metaphor, jungle often refers to situations that are unruly or lawless. Or, as in Kipling's Jungle Book, is jungle a symbol for the intricate code of laws that rule human society? We have chosen still another possible meaning juxtaposing two different but complementary forms of life: life of nature and life of the Spirit. Both deserve attention and care. Conservation and preservation of bio zones is key to the life of nature. Forests have a global "climate-buffering capacity." A similar conservation and preservation applies to the life-giving message of the Nativity. Only a balanced and healthy spiritual ecosystem will be able to restrain and overcome the law of the jungle. This African cloth nativity designed and sewn by Joana Lekia Nelson, a former art teacher, combines traditional costumes and unique African fabrics. Joana teaches girls seamstress skills. The girls assist in making the nativity dolls.

– ML.4192

Ghana nativity set

Pillars of the Earth
John Tse

The stylized shapes of these figures evokes a number of association. The shape may be a concession to matter. Ebony is the densest wood in the world, making it difficult to carve. The hooded appearance of the figures, suggesting veil-like headgear covering shoulders and back, may further point to a nomadic existence. African shepherds, travelling with their herds, carry on their back a mini-tent as protection against heat and weather. From an aesthetic point of view, the shape of these crèche figures speak of solid nobility, peaceful concentration, and sovereign strength. They are like pillars in a sea of restlessness. In Psalm 75:3 it is God who holds the pillars of the earth firm. God's own pillar is his son we recognize as Jesus the Christ. This nativity set honors the nobility, strength, and peace grounded in the Nativity of Christ.

– ML.4073

Ghana nativity set

The Land of Rhythm
John Tse

Ghana is called the land of rhythm not least because it is the land of drums. Many of the drums are carved from tweneboa wood which translates as "drum wood" or "drum tree." The tweneboa tree has a wide umbrella shaped crown. It is frequently planted in villages for its shade and shelter. Stained with a reddish honey-colored finish, the village and people of this nativity set exude a special visual rhythm. It is the rhythm of life gradually turning darkness into light, of night emerging into a distant sun, of the glow from within illuminating the day. In the land of rhythm even color comes alive to greet the event of Christmas.

– ML.4074





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