Pardes/Paradise, October 2012 in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
October 2012 The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Washington, D.C.
The Jerusalem Fund Gallery hosts its first exhibit by Oregon artist Anne Barber-Shams, Mihrab: Metaphorical Portal, opening on September 14, 2012 and running through October 26.
Barber-Shams explores the depths of the mihrab, which she translates as meaning refuge, and its significance in the three monotheistic traditions of Andalusian Spain.
Eleven acrylic paintings on paper, embellished with gold leaf, study the evocative shapes of doorway, gate, arch and niche—literal architectural and metaphorical portals from one place to another. The artist sees the mihrab as a portal uniting the ancient common ground found during the Andalusian period, where for 700 years the three monotheistic cultures of Muslims, Christians and Jews intermingled and flourished, bringing forth architectural, artistic, scientific and scholarly riches. Barber-Shams pairs these paintings with nine odes by Muslim, Christian and Jewish poets of the period, calligraphed in metal leaf on marbelized Mylar (strong polyester film). She sees the odes as seeds of peace created during a turbulent time, the Dark Ages of Northern Europe contemporaneous with the liberal cultural understanding of the Golden Age in the south.
Anne Barber-Shams studied painting and glass in Venice and Padua, Italy, as well as earning degrees in art in California and Oregon. She first became involved with the situation in Palestine in 2001, and has since participated in numerous solo and group shows, concentrating on the subjects of building bridges to peace through art.
For more information please visit www. the jerusalemfund.org. —Dagmar Painter
Amen, a Prayer for the World at the National Cathedral,
Washington DC and St. John the Divine, NYC
Commenting on this interfaith arts initiative, Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, the President of CARAVAN and the Co-curator of the exhibition explains, “While the peoples of the Middle East and West may express prayer differently, it is a commonality that unites us all, serving as a ‘universal bridge’.
To express this commonality of prayer, four different poses of prayer in a life-size 3D fiberglass human form were sculpted for this exhibition by the noted Egyptian artist Reda Abdel Rahman, symbolizing human diversity, community and the many forms that prayer can take.
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 ‘model’ for the sculptural prayer form is Amun, the deity of ancient Thebes in the 11th dynasty (c. 21st century BC) who is considered the first to develop religion toward monotheism. The four sculptural forms therefore communicate a modern essence of Amun, each depicted with his face. In this exhibition the historic figure of Amun is being associated with the word Amen, an affirmation commonly used to conclude Christian, Muslim and Jewish prayers or blessings.
Balance at Canton, Ohio Museum of Art 2013-14
Sacred Voices, from December 3, 2013 through January 2014. The painting was
featured in the publicity and exhibit posters.