Subscribe for Email Notifications

Monday, August 17, 2020

Art and Identity | by Christine Petty

My parents raised our family with frequent visits to museums and galleries, fueling the passion for the making of art that became a large part of who I am. As I examine further links, the original creation of the world filters into my work, whether painting the human figure or screen printing molecular renditions of targeted cancer therapy. My abstract works reference the materials and acts that Deity used to organize the earth. After gathering, arranging and finalizing my assemblage pieces, I experience a visceral, in addition to intellectual, feeling of completion, a feeling of gratitude toward the Higher Power in my life. 



Natural dyes on water color paper; 2020.

 
During this time of COVID-19 quarantine, precipitously locked out of the print shop and my studio, I began teaching myself how to dye organic cloth and cotton paper, using natural foraged material in inner city Philadelphia. This has given me additional time to consider our God, his works and my human imitation of His original acts. His grand ability to create human beings who could also produce new ideas and art, strengthens my religious belief and reassures my art making.


Christine Petty The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints www.christinepetty.com @christinepettyart

Monday, August 10, 2020

Stigmas of Non-Traditional Faiths | By Joseph Rockford

Today’s blog post is about the rise of and simultaneous oppression of non-traditional faiths. 

    Although I was raised as a reform Jew, I’ve seen and read about the rise of non-traditional faiths.  Most of these faiths, such as the Asatru faith, are based on old religions that were once dormant. These faiths have seen a major rise in popularity particularly among the youth. The belief systems that guide them are a mix of Paganism and distinct cultures from around the world. One of the reasons these non-traditional religious beliefs are on the rise is because they are less organized and more individualistic in nature. It’s about what you put into the faith and get out of it more than following any strict guidelines. While these faiths do have temples and places of worship, there are only a few and they are scattered around the world. 

    The reason I bring all of this up today is that these faiths are under attack in certain ways. The Asatru faith that believes in the gods of Norway has been co-opted by white nationalism. These people have taken the symbols of the faith like Thor’s hammer and turned it into a symbol of hate. They believe the faith to be a symbol of white purity because of its roots in Viking culture. Very few people know about the struggles this faith faces to keep itself on the straight and narrow. Their main temple in Norway has thousands of followers. More importantly, its true followers are trying their best to keep the positive view of the faith alive. 

Hilmar Hilmarsson and other Ásatrú practitioners at a ceremony (Silke Schurack / Reuters)


    Another big issue these faiths face is being denied access to their holy spaces. One major example of this can be seen with the faith of Hellenism. Hellenist’s worship the Greek gods. In Greece, some factions of the government don’t look favorably upon the Hellenists religious practice. These Greek factions of government don’t take well to the faith due to the traditional clothing worn by Hellenists and more Pagenist parts of the faith. These factions try to make the Hellenists buy permits to pray and they give them terrible treatment if they show up at the coliseum or any major site. These factions don’t try to understand or want to understand this faith despite the Hellenists doing everything very peacefully. 

“The Council of the Gods” by Raphael


    As these faiths continue to grow in size because of the youths continued move towards a less structured religious system, problems continue to arise.  Many religions like these face persecution or destruction on minor to major scales, but unlike our larger monotheistic religions they don’t have the resources to defend themselves on their own. I wanted to bring attention to this issue as many people among these types of faiths are scared of the future. They are scared of what might come about from their opponents propaganda, they are worried the faith will die, lose its space to worship or worse.. become a symbol of hate.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Hineni | By Laurie Pollack

This summer, we are featuring meaningful art in our new blog series: Art and Identity. In this week's post, Laurie Pollack reflects on the Hebrew phrase, Hineni, through her art. If you have artwork and commentary you'd like to share, please email Liz er@interfaithphiladelphia.org and Andrew jaf@interfaithphiladelphia.org


I do not call myself an artist but I describe myself as a poet who sometimes also plays with paint.

My main genre and where I feel I may have a gift, is writing not art.

I paint not to perfect my rudimentary skill or create fine art but to express myself. I do not have the skills yet to express myself and may never get there.  But I find meaning in it  and do it anyway 

I am Jewish though not religious, and sometimes write or paint  on Jewish themes.

Here is a painting I did at the start of the pandemic, which hit us a little while before Passover.

It is called "Hineni".

The numbers refer to the 10 plagues

"Hineni" means in Hebrew: I am present.

On the left is an egg shaped earth: our planet and its people are bleeding, suffering. But blood is life.

For this reason the waves of the sea we must cross to get to a better, new, maybe not normal, are strewn with hearts/love: love is what we are carrying with us as we walk through the sea together.

The question marks? because we just don't know, do we? Will the water part? Will we all, or some of us be drowned? But we can't go back. Egypt/old normal, is over.

I find it amazing I painted this on March 15th.  Days before our lockdown started. At a time when 140,000 human beings perished here and half a million people lost worldwide would have seemed unthinkable.     It is now late July
But so much still resonates with me in this piece

I think we are still in the middle of the sea. I wonder what we will need to get to the other side and what the other side will look like?

Yours truly,

Laurie Pollack