Guatemala's tensions energize Jesuit artist's creativity

Jesuit Fr. Dennis Leder: "I am more interested in things that begin and end and start again." (NCR Photo/Tom Roberts)

Near Guatemala City — It was about 15 minutes into the conversation when Jesuit Fr. Dennis Leder, in describing his art, explained so much more.

Always on his mind, he said, especially when he is constructing a piece of architectural sculpture, is the tension between chaos and harmony. That's descriptive, one could argue, of the human condition in general. Our lives might often seem to be about making sense of chaos. But some places present the problem in more stark terms than others, and Guatemala, where we spoke, is one of those. It is a place of remarkable physical beauty and natural harmony; at the same time, few places anywhere match it for the sheer amount of oppression and killing that has occurred in its recent history.

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