With a backdrop of continuing turmoil and tension in the Middle East, the 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art premiered in the US on August 30th at Washington National Cathedral and ran for six weeks.
CARAVAN develops artistic initiatives that bring together the creeds and cultures of the East and West.
From the United Religions Initiative:
The 2014 CARAVAN exhibition is an innovative art initiative that brings together 48 Middle Eastern and Western artists from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds. CARAVAN is a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative with roughly 300 members located primarily in the US and Egypt.
Seeking to build interreligious and intercultural bridges, the 2014 CARAVAN exhibition, which finished its Middle East run in Cairo in July at Egypt’s Museum of Modern Art, is built around the theme “AMEN—A Prayer for the World,” and is an aspirational expression of hope and goodwill.
“The CARAVAN exhibit is an exciting opportunity for Washington National Cathedral in so many ways,” said the Very Reverend Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “It allows us to continue exploring the Cathedral’s nave as a space for artistic exhibition and expression.”
Each of the 48 participating artists were given a life-size fiberglass sculpture in one of four poses of prayer to paint or decorate as they wish. The theme word “Amen” was selected as it is an affirmation commonly used to conclude Christian, Muslim and Jewish prayers or blessings. As an artistic collective from both the Middle East and the West, the participants are making a statement of praying together for peace, justice and well-being for everyone in our world.
The exhibition’s official opening was a VIP Reception held at National Cathedral on September 4. With over 700 in attendance, dignitaries included The Very Rev Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, His Excellency Mohamed Tawfik, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the USA and numerous Ambassadors. Other special guests included the Rt Rev Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, religious leaders, and key individuals from the art world. Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Tawfik, at the VIP opening reception said, “This remarkable and timely exhibition transcends boundaries to foster an important intercultural and interreligious dialogue.”
The exhibition was accompanied by other programs including various open houses, visits by schools as part of their religious curriculum programs, and a “Visio Divina” evening (Latin for “divine seeing,” a contemplative time focused on the spiritual connectedness of all cultures). The CARAVAN exhibition was also a focus of the “9/11 Unity Walk” on September 21 for the International Day of Peace.
All AMEN forms are on sale and proceeds will support efforts of the Egyptian charity, Tawasol, to build a school for children within one of the poorest areas of Cairo. This is truly a special opportunity to not only purchase a unique work of art, but also to help an Egyptian charity. Please email purchase inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org