Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: "Akiane - Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry"

Book Review: "akiane - her life, her art, her poetry," Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006. 136 pages.

It actually seems a little odd reviewing the life story of a girl who was only 10 at the time of the book's writing, but, then again, Akiane Kramarik is no ordinary girl. She rocketed to fame on the merits of her art, which some have found so shockingly good that they assumed she could not have painted it herself. Those doubts have long since been laid to rest, yet she remains a mystery. This book answers a number of questions, but leaves many unanswered.

The book was written by Akiane's mother, and details the early years of Akiane's life as the family journeyed through a series of successes and failures. Foreli and her husband, Markus, born in Lithuania, by all accounts are devoted to their children, creating a nurturing environment regardless of financial realities. Much of the book could be written about any number of children, but other parts recount the kind of stories that make one wonder.

When Akiane was just a baby of three weeks her mother received an odd call from Europe, telling about a strange Armenian Christian lady named Victoria who was telling people about a baby named Akiane, and all the wonderful things she would do. That very woman called later that day to share what she said that God had revealed to her about Akiane's future. Being atheists, Akiane's parents completely rejected her rambling.

However, when Akiane was four, she began to speak about God, which took her mother by surprise because the family home-schooled, did not attend church, had no television and didn't speak of God at all. These "encounters" with God became regular and were accompanied by vivid experiences, which Akiane spoke of as fact. Her mother encouraged her to draw what she saw and Akiane began her art at the age of 4 and never stopped. She quickly progressed from pencil sketches to oil pastels and acrylics, displaying her art at art fairs. People refused to believe that a then 6 year old could create such art. She continued to develop her skills and started writing poetry at age 7.
The Prince of Peace

Her poetry often goes hand in hand with the theme of one of her paintings, and deals again with spiritual imagery. It's a little esoteric for me, but has been acclaimed by many well-respected poets and critics. What is certain is that Akiane takes what she does seriously, and views her art as a gift from God to the world. She works at it with the dedication of a professional artist, even when she was a child. Her spiritual interest lead her entire family to look for God in the person of Jesus Christ, who became the subject of two of her most famous paintings ("The Prince of Peace" and "Father Forgive Them").

Self-portrait
The book, while it could be seen as self-serving, reveals a remarkable young lady (at 10!) who can speak 4 languages and is an acclaimed artist and poet. Her art is remarkable in its mature themes and its ability to portray concepts that touch on spiritual realities. Whatever you believe of her encounters with God, Akiane is a rare talent. It's an interesting book to read, if only to view that paintings with her stories of what inspired them.

By the way, now 6 years later, Akiane continues to amaze with her talent. She has made appearances on almost all of the major talk shows. Visit her web-site to view her art for yourself.

"I teach, and they run away.
I listen and they come.
My strength is my silence."
-Akiane 

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