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Responding to Leviticus 16, this beautiful painting by April Knighton explores the hope of reconciliation in the midst of a list of rules.

Leviticus 16



April Abesamis Knighton


Curated by: 



6 x 4 feet

Acrylics on Canvas

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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Like many (I'm sure), I'd never spent much time reading the book of Leviticus. From a distance, it presents itself as a book of long, winding passages with plenty of unintelligible phrases. How could I illuminate a text that seems obscure and repulsive? In a book that centers around the rituals and legal practices that defined the Old Testament, the chapter of Leviticus 16 stood out for me. It suggests hope. A promise of atonement in the midst of rules and rituals.

Leviticus highlights the consequence of sin and the cost of resolution. As I painted this piece, I constantly thought of several themes over and over: sin, absolution, and restoration of relationship. In the process, my heart always longed for the latter. How is that restoration possible within the complicated and often-confusing paradigm of a devastated, yet hopeful, world?

Leviticus 16 makes it seem impossible to experience a restoration of relationship with God. It presents a daunting process that culminates in resolution through the physical embodiment of ritualistic forgiveness. My heart longed for reprieve. Is there an alternative path?

This work explores the multi-faceted and often dichotomized relationship between consequence and promise, and unrealistic laws and hope.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

April Abesamis Knighton is a Chicago-based artist as well as a registered art therapist and licensed clinical counselor. She received her Master of Arts in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2012 and has extensive experience helping individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sexual assault, and trauma.

She currently works as an art therapist/psychotherapist at a private practice using integrative, trauma-informed, and compassion-focused therapy. A certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, accredited by the National Council for Behavioral Health, April previously worked as the Mental Health Promotion Specialist and Art Therapist at SAIC, managing a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), providing therapeutic support to students, and curating a variety of art exhibits showcasing art and its ability to transcend stigma.

Her work at SAIC also focused on initiating creative programming that promoted mental health and wellness, which was featured on NBC’s TODAY Show and highlighted by professional organizations — including the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), American Art Therapy Association (AATA) and Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA).

Trained in multiple disciplines with a deep appreciation for outsider art, April’s art practice currently centers around oil and acrylic painting and digital illustration.

April Abesamis Knighton

About the Artist

Until Then

April Abesamis Knighton

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