During a decade artist Nicola Green has attended interfaith meetings around the world. Not as a participant, but as a witness. Allowed to sketch and take photographs, the resulting series “Light” and “Encounter” constitute a remarkable account of a relatively new interfaith phenomenon: small-scale meetings during which leaders interact on the basis of equality and mutuality.
Accompanying this art project is the book “Encounters. The Art of Interfaith Dialogue,” published in the fall of 2018. I had the privilege of writing one of the chapters in the publication. In this chapter, titled “Framing Encounters, Performing Difference” I explore how material settings, and the physical encounters they engender, impact interfaith encounters, looking both at how Green records these dynamics as well as frames them herself.
I particularly look at the continuous individual and collective identity formation during such encounters, the ritual dimensions of participation and spectatorship, and the question of heritage making. Ultimately, the chapter deals with the dual concern of how religious leaders frame their participation in interfaith encounters and how the resulting artworks constitute an invitation to an interfaith encounter in itself.
In total the book comprises of contributions by academics, artists, religious leaders, and cultural thinkers. It is published by Brepols Publishers and edited by Prof. Aaron Rosen.
More information on the Encounters project can be found on Nicola Green’s website.