‘Artist for God’ Seeks Company
For 20 years he has traveled from state to state, country to country, dedicated to following Jesus’ command to “go out and make disciples of all nations” through the most universal of all languages: art.
In the middle of the exhibit hall floor, you can find Kadiev with paintbrushes at the ready, standing next to a 10-foot piece of canvas. The canvas is covered from top to bottom with the painted contributions of passersby.
The designs include words and prayers, a charcoal-drawn face of Jesus and spiritually expressive abstract shapes.
Kadiev and his collaborative canvas will stand in the exhibit hall until the end of the week, inviting (and sometimes urging directly) conventiongoers to participate in using whatever creative impulses (and skills) they have to celebrate God together.
When asked what it means to be an “artist for God,” Kadiev answered with the story of his life journey.
As a young man from Los Angeles with only a few college classes under his belt, Kadiev took to the road out of curiosity. A series of what he calls “epiphanies” led him to pursue a life of active art and radically mobile living. He began integrating God directly into his life, artwork and travels.
On a trip to Albuquerque, Kadiev found himself without a home. After a conversation with a young Mennonite man traveling to New Mexico with Mennonite Mission Network, Kadiev began attending a local Mennonite Church. He quickly found himself growing deep roots in both Albuquerque and the Mennonite Church, meeting his life partner and growing deeply involved in the congregation.
“Even though I was a homeless dude, they invited me to potluck after potluck after potluck!” said Kadiev. “I connected with the Mennonites. They spoke against the ‘empire building’ and knew that war is wrong. I would call them peace activists rather than pacifists.”
Kadiev’s roots in Albuquerque may have grounded him in the Mennonite Church, but they have not kept him off the road. Today, he still travels around the country and the world spreading his love of God with his love of art. He has traveled and contributed murals to many places, including India and Palestine, Alaska and Pennsylvania.
“What Dmitri does for us is he inconveniences us,” said Ken Gingerich, a fellow artist, a friend and a member of the communication office for Mennonite Church USA. “He makes us realize our ordered lives can make us lose a connection with the world. He is a window to a world that we don’t normally have access to. This guy is a bridge to passion.”
Kadiev invites all to come, grab a paintbrush and harness God-given artistic passions.
“Consider this,” Kadiev said. “God has made each and every one of us with a gift. That’s a profound realization. That gift is meant to serve and to benefit other people.”