(all photographs by Michael Myers)

In the Fall of 2000, Pastor Iva Bowers, a native of Panama who came to the US in 1979, had just appeared on the Queen Latifah show as a Tina Turner impersonator when she found out she had breast cancer. As she recovered from her illness, she received a vision from God that she needed to tell the story of the Bible in fish tanks. And so began the Healing Gallery Ministry, an array of fish tanks on the back porch of Pastor Bowers’ home on the Southeast side of Colorado Springs that depict scenes from both Old and New Testaments.

Bowers uses figurines, action figures, dried plants, plastic plants, rocks, paint, fabric and anything else she can find to created the scenes. The result is at once diorama, folk art, outsider art and inspired vision.

In this slide show, Bowers quickly narrates the story of the Bible as her fish tanks tell it.

 

11 Responses to The Fish Tank Bible

  1. Kit says:

    This is great.
    What a visionary and an artist!
    Thanks for doing this story.
    I miss that place.
    KB

  2. chris fiedler says:

    man alive, these are amazing! i’d love to see them filled with water and fish, and the holy spirit and stuff too.

  3. Nancy Wilsted says:

    I only wish a photograph of Pastor Iva Bowers had been included.

  4. Jennifer says:

    These are gorgeous. Great example of why I love TBS.

  5. These are totally cool. What a great take on the biblical diorama.

    I too wish there was an image of Bowers, especially after we’ve been teased by telling us of her ability to impersonate Tina Turner!

  6. tobi says:

    I just have to say that it’s not only the tanks- which are truly works of love & devotion on their own, but the way Pastor Iva Bowers tells the stories, her interpretations, her speech patterns, her style — that is what makes this piece really a work of art.

  7. Carol says:

    Great story! Pastor Bowers and her fish tanks are fascinating! I’m with Nancy, it would be nice to see a photo of Pastor Bowers.

  8. suesun says:

    I watched this with my 10-year-old son; what a great lesson in biblical literacy! Wow. And thank you for getting us out of the downtown/westside zone that so many of us have isolated ourselves in. There are so many gems in the southeast; thanks for highlighting this one.

  9. suesun says:

    For those of you who want to see her, I just watched an interview with Pastor Bowers on her website. I’ll leave it up to you to make any Tina Turner look alike comments! You can watch it here

  10. Shirley K says:

    What an awesome GOD we serve! This is another example of the unlimitless creativity of the GOD of Creation! Thank you sister Iva for your obedience, service, and love for our LORD JESUS. To GOD be the glory!

  11. […] many of you who watched the Fish Tank Bible post on Pastor Iva Bowers’ lovely Biblical fish tank dioramas asked to see a picture of […]

News

AP
July 30, 2016 | NPR · The 42-year-old daredevil made a perfect landing into a net 25,000 feet below, in Simi Valley, Calif., on Saturday.
 

Courtesy of Adam Summers
July 30, 2016 | NPR · Professor Adam Summers is a “fish guy.” He uses fish to get engineering ideas. His latest project is to CT scan every type of fish — all 33,000 of them.
 

July 30, 2016 | NPR · The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s founding director Lonnie Bunch talks about a new book that features photos from the museum’s collection. The museum opens in September.
 

Arts & Life

Getty Images
July 30, 2016 | NPR · We’ve invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called “Let’s shake on it.”
 

STX Productions
July 30, 2016 | NPR · Bell’s new film is about three suburban moms who find themselves ground down by the endless chores of motherhood. She says its creators (two men) wrote it as a love letter to their overworked wives.
 

July 30, 2016 | NPR · Last week on the show author Dave Eggers and Scott Simon agreed that they couldn’t think of any protagonists in fiction who are dentists. This week we have a correction, and literary dentist readings.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
July 30, 2016 | NPR · The late hip-hop producer left behind troves of unfinished music. How do you dig into the vault of an artist like Dilla and assemble an album that remains true to their creative vision?
 

AFP/Getty Images
July 30, 2016 | NPR · A chaotic week of fractured loyalties surged into buoyant affirmations for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. But are all those left-leaning musicians just singing into an echo chamber?
 

July 30, 2016 | NPR · NPR’s Scott Simon talks to La Marisoul and Juan Manuel Caipo, two of the musicians on a new collection of covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival. It’s called Quiero Creedence.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab