top of page

 99-Sheep - magic series

Congratulations! LK's 99 Sheep project has been selected by Yale University's Perch Journal Vol. 5, page 24-25 of 100 online, and page 22-23 in the book, see link

What is a "99-Sheep" art project?

It is the Parable of the Lost Sheep is one of the parables of Jesus. It appears in the Gospels of Matthew (Matthew 18:12–14) and Luke (Luke 15:3–7). It is about a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one which is lost. It is my story (please see below proposal of the detail story) and maybe yours too, I want to share the joy and sorrow of my life through my paintings. I wish you to experience the peace of green pastures through my artwork, please support my effort.

Do you know the value of art is in the beholder's eyes? It is not a commodity, when art's value becomes a commodity, an artist will act as the hired labor for the purpose to please his/her master. However, a true art needs to be returned to the true soul of artists' creativity, hence an artist has to be true to him-herself.  

Do you know your organization can invite L. K. an exhibition and speech to support the above project? Please see proposal below and contact artist at Lily at LilyKostrzewa dot com or 989-854-0829.

Exhibition Proposal

Title: 99-Sheep

Do you ever feel lonely or lost? Sometimes life feels like a slow motion pace, inside a silence of muted sounds. You constantly retreat to it to prevent yourself from living in real time. This is how I felt and the “99-Sheep” project was the healing process.

Before my father passed away on January 2017, I had already started the animal series, which I titled “Life along Life Path”. In these works I created mythical kinds of animals; mixed creatures of deer, horse, goat or sheep. I painted these animals in pink spring time or under a hot summer sun, in the glorious golden autumn or even let them experience the harsh winter winds. Then my father died of Alzheimer's as well as old age. In grief, I turned to paint animals in a group setting. I did a solo art show in Barcelona, Spain in July 2017 to memorialize his love of art, film, and photography. After coming back to the USA from Spain I gradually started a new series call “99-sheep”. The name is from the parable of ninety-nine sheep in the Gospels of Matthew (18:12-14) and Luke (15:3-7). The story talks about a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one which is lost and he rejoices greatly when the lost sheep is found. In my grief, I actually felt like the one lost and I depicted it in my painting as the invisible sheep in a white outline. The sheep is trying to find the way or the meaning of life and wandered off from the rest of flock alone. 

Then an even worse news came to put me in shock, as in July 2018, in a a sudden phone call I realized my beloved mother had passed away by a cold or flu in a hospital E.R. Taipei, Taiwan. I was devastated by not being able to be in her presence for her last breath. Born from her body, I actually felt the physical pain. Grief had overtaken me by knowing she was gone, never to return. For me, losing both mother and father in such a short period of time is like the lost sheep image in the story of the Gospels’ ninety-nine sheep. I felt like the sheep that has lost its way in the shadow of a death valley. I can sense the sheep crying, angry, and scared. The feeling is one of hopelessness and a wandering to find one's way out of the wildness. The sheep desperately needs the comfort from its shepherd’s hug and gentle voice. It longs to share joy with the rest of ninety-nine sheep and desires to walk again in the peace of green pastures.

I am painting and experiencing the on-going process of healing. And the healing becomes my on-going project of “99-Sheep”. Besides the one sheep, the flock of 99-sheep is depicted in a very colorful, joyful, and naive way. They are well protected, and socializing in a friendly environment. They are busy eating and enjoying their peaceful meadow. They have a good life and are often having a good time, they seldom will ever notice that one of their group is wandering off and under so much suffering and pain. I think this pretty much like our society today. We live in a bubble of the comfort zone, green pastures are surrounded by nice gardens; nice homes could be seen by subdivision after subdivision. We eat, drink and be merry. We shop for Christmas year round and eat Thanksgiving turkey year after year. Do we really care about those in pain, lonely, and hopeless? Do we still have compassion and social justice for those in need? 

There is a lot of talking points in my project of “99-Sheep”. I hope you will like it.

Thank you.

Lily Kostrzewa

bottom of page