Press "Enter" to skip to content

Professor by day, portraitist by night

by Rachael Kitabire, photo by Hannah Turner

As Dr. Sergio Matviuk considered a birthday present fit for ORU President Dr. William Wilson, he recalled his mother’s advice to “make an original.” Matviuk, the associate vice president of student success at ORU, grabbed oil painting supplies to create a worthwhile gift for his friend. After a total of 200 hours, the final artwork depicts a lifelike portrait of Wilson.   

The idea to “make an original” came from Matviuk’s mother who raised him in a little frontier town called Roque Sáenz Peña, in the province of Chaco located in the northern part of Argentina. What began as a gesture of appreciation turned into a rebirth of an old passion that he had cultivated as a teenager.

Dr. Sergio Matviuk | Photo by Jonathan Rodriguez

“It had been 35 years since I had painted. When you do a portrait, you take a lot of chances. It has to be precise. There has to be likeness,” he explained.

Art is interpreted differently by every individual. To his surprise, Matviuk’s portrait of Wilson was well received with compliments from his colleagues and those around him. Throughout this time, Matviuk realized that he was not using the gift he possessed.

“It was exciting to go back,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘How can I use this to glorify God?’”

While growing up, Matviuk studied art every weekend for eight years. At the age of 17, he taught an art class of 50 students for three hours a week, which was rare in his hometown that lacked art schools at the time. After a year of teaching, Matviuk embarked on a college career at Universidad National de Cordoba and soon married and began full-time work.

Since his passion resurfaced, Matviuk has sought to pair his faith and artwork. A passion to tell stories through painting came back at the right time, according to Matviuk.

“I want to do this,” said Matviuk. “I want to make Christian art that isn’t predictable. I want to tell stories about what it means to be a Christian.”

He has recently started a series entitled, “The Emotions and Feelings of Spiritual Life.” The first painting of the series is a portrait named, “A Life without Faith.” It’s a story of a young lady.

“She is young. She is beautiful,” he said, describing the art piece. “She is without faith. Something is missing.”

It is still a draft, but Matviuk hopes to finish it soon. A lot of emphasis is being placed on the girl’s eyes to see her emotion, according to the painter. He has spent about 100 hours on the piece, while thinking of future additions to the series. Other paintings in the series will be called “Waiting for God’s Answer” and “I Know My Redeemer Lives.”

“If you feel like doing it, do it,” advised Matviuk. “We have skills and abilities that have been given to us to see how God will bless others.”