Williamsburg resident Steve Prince has been announced as the first place winner in the Engage Art Contest.
According to Engage Art’s website, the contest was a juried art competition for original visual art, music video, film and performing arts informed by Ephesians 6:10-20, open to residents in North America.
Ephesians 6:10-20 discusses putting on an armor of God.
Prince’s winning art piece is titled “Armor of God: Equipping Ourselves to do Social Justice Work.” It’s a Linoleum Cut on Paper.
The image reveals nine African American youth entering Central High School in 1957, marking the integration of public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.
On Engageart.org, Prince details how he made the art piece. After creating an intricate drawing on the surface of a piece of linoleum and using intricate cutting tools to remove the negative space around the positive lines, Prince rolled the block up with ink, placed a piece of paper on top of the inked block and ran block through a press under thousands of pounds of pressure. To finish the piece he slowly peeled the paper back to reveal the print on the paper.
In thinking about Ephesians 6:10-20, Prince said putting on armor is to protect someone from battle whether its mental or physical and an armor of God does not come off.
“I believe there was a protection that was helping those kids, internal, that enabled them to withstand the metaphorical arrows, darts, and swords that came at them”
He said he felt like their strength and courage had to be by help of the armor of God.
“I created a shield on their bodies that said “AOG” representing the armor of God and then I put different accoutrements within the composition like a breast plate, helmet to protect their mind and more,” Prince said.
The girl depicted in the middle is Carlotta Walls, 4, the youngest of the nine courageous African American students known as the Little Rock Nine.
Prince is a mixed-media artist, master printmaker, lecturer, educator, and art evangelist. He is currently a board member of Christians in the Visual Arts and he is the director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum at William & Mary.
He said he received his BFA from Xavier University of Louisiana and an MFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from Michigan State University. He has taught middle school, high school, community college, four-year public and private schools and conducted workshops internationally in various media.
The original “Armor of God: Equipping Ourselves to do Social Justice Work” is 2 feet high and 5 feet wide. It retails for $6,000. To buy any of Prince’s work, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally published on Dec. 14, 2020.