Collaboration was clearly a key to success at last night’s Faith in the City festival, part of a week long celebration of the Abrahamic faiths, hosted by the RED Gallery in London.
Here, artists from Christian, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds exhibited artwork exploring common elements in their lifestyles, beliefs and practices.
Muslim pop artist Hannah Habibi Hopkin collaborated with Christian artist, Emer Costello to illustrate a metaphor shared by both faiths. Hopkins, who created a bright, flashing, neon-lit woman in prayer, said: “We wanted to bring the ancient metaphor of light and darkness into the 21st Century.” Her work is a striking depiction of light and darkness, good and bad, spiritual and worldly.
The central focal point of the exhibition was three, multi-faith pieces of artwork exploring common aspects of the religions. Funded by Urban Dialogues, A3 depicts the letter A in Hebrew, Latin and Arabic alphabets. Night/Light explores the symbolism of light through urban associations, and Thresholds shows how religious custom and beliefs are embedded in the design and decoration of buildings.
Unfolding around this central focal point, was a colourful, dynamic and entertaining blend of participatory art, music, food and discussion.
Amidst a room full of artwork, SOAS Klezmer Ensemble rehearsed before their evening performance. They formed a choral circle of spectacular sound creation that added a new dimension to the experience of viewing artwork.
Meanwhile, artists downstairs encouraged members of the public to pick up a paintbrush and add to a colourful panorama.
Phil Ybring of the Three Faiths Forum explained that the interfaith art exhibition is about “building bridges between communities”.
He said: “It is not just about religion, but allowing people from different backgrounds to find what they have in common; how they live their faith.
“The week enables people to learn from one another, what it’s actually like to be Christian, Muslim or Jewish.”
Muslim Hadiya Masieh from Urban Dialogues described the exhibition as a way for art to stimulate discussion from diverse communities.
Victoria Burgher, a Christian and the curator of the exhibition said: “The aim is to break down barriers and allow people to come together.” She said she felt the entire process over the past year has nourished her faith, as she has formed close and supportive friendships with the artists.
Commenting on Interfaith Week, which encourages positive unity between religions, former councillor David Mencer said: “Judaism as a whole does not usually involve making connections with people outside of the religion.
“Interfaith week is an opportunity for us to live by example, for one another, both within and beyond our immediate communities”.
3FF Faith in the City exhibition is running at the RED Gallery, EC2A 3DT until 4 December. There will be a family day on 27 November and a Women’s Afternoon on 1 December. All events are free and open to the public. For more information visit: www.redgallerylondon.com/exhibitions
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