Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today's The Day! A&O Prize for Indiana Youth | 2012 Interfaith Dialogue

By Verneida I. Britton
Some of the students in the 2012 Interfaith dialogue program
Have you ever met a Hindu or chanted the "Om"? Have you touched a Torah scroll at a Jewish Temple, or written your name in Islamic calligraphy in an Islamic house of worship? Have you ever visited a Black Baptist church and watched as Jewish, Hindu and Muslim youth sketched Christian crosses for each other? In central Indiana, there are twenty-five youth, grades 7-12 who have done just that and today at 2:00 pm, those students will gather together one last time for a group dialogue about their journey as part of the 17th Annual Spirit & Place Festival at Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St. Indianapolis (across from the Indianapolis Museum of Art).

Since July, these students have gathered every two-weeks together to share their faith traditions through the art & architecture of their different faith traditions. The result is an amazing visual journey with works created by the youth to reflect their journey (see below); along with photographs by Gregory A. Disney of the different stops along the student's journey. All week, since the exhibit opened on Sunday, November 4, visitors have been voting for the student artworks that best reflect the program's 2012 theme: Religion & Play. Voting took place both on Facebook, onsite in the gallery, and with one professional judge as tie-breaker. The exhibit is the culmination of a 3-month educational partnership between the Alpha & Omega Project for Contemporary Religious Arts, the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and the Indiana Interchurch Center. Today's concluding dialogue is open to the public, and is being held in the same space as hangs the exhibit of the student artworks. The exhibition will remain on display through December 31. All are welcome.
(Video) "The Dreidel" by Arica Simon
Arica Simon: When I think about play and my Jewish heritage, dreidel is the first thing that comes to mind. Every time I spin a dreidel it brings up memories of playing with my family and friends. Dreidel can be fun with one, two, or many players and there are many variations to playing dreidel. Dreidel is probably the best known Jewish game because there are many songs written about it. I chose to use photographs of a spinning dreidel and to combine them into a video as I believe this shows more of the action of the moving dreidel.

Eliza Foran “The Origin of Faith” Mixed Media 9th Grade
Eliza Foran:  “I represent the Christian faith for this project, but I’m an open agnostic. This piece is supposed to be a straight question – “What is the origin of faith, and how does it affect our creativity?” Our group tried resolving the question with no objective answer to give you. If we are going to be faith, I’ll let you decide. Hint: The WWJD peace sign is not supposed to be didactic."

Pradnya Kokitka “Dekho Nach (Watch the Dance)” Colored pencil 10th Grade
Pradnya Kokitka: "My artwork is a colored-pencil drawing of my eye with an edited photograph of an Indian festival that I took. In the dance there are both adults and children dancing together to celebrate."
Howe Chin “Smiling Buddha” Wood 9th Grade
Howe Chin: “Smiling Buddha” Wood 9th Grade The Buddha says that as long as we have compassion, our 'ocean of tears' will not be able to drawn us, and that is why the Buddha can keep his smile. As I painted this figure of the Buddha, I focused on the joy of his smile. We believe in change but we also believe we have the power to change how we enjoy the world."

Michaela Simon “Friends on Boat to Ellis Island” Photograph 9th Grade
Michaela Simon: “This is a picture of my friends standing on a board to Ellis Island, staring at the New York shoreline. To me it shows a sort of serenity and a calm beauty. I think that it ties in with the theme of play because it shows a sense of friendship and family that to me is a form of play. With my friends and family, I not only have plain-out faun, but I have fun religious experiences too. I took this photo on October 19, 2012 while I was in New York, and even thought it was pouring rain, we still managed to enjoy each other’s company and ourselves. "
Michaela Simon “Times Square” Photograph 9th Grade
Michaela Simon: “To me, this picture represents play because New York City is so diverse and Times Square is the epicenter of the city. It represents fun, diversity, uniqueness and there are many different faiths and religions in one small place. I think the bright lights and all the colors help bring about the feeling and essence of play, along with all the people enjoying themselves. This photo was taken October 20, 2012, while I was in New York with my religious school classmates, and it reminds me of all the fun and pure excitement that I enjoyed while we were there. This is in stark contrast to the photos of Times Square that have come out since hurricane Sandy."
Elisha Turner “Jesus with the World in his Hands” Elisha Turner 7th Grade
Elisha Turner: “This picture portrays Jesus holding the world in his hands. It symbolizes his significance and unification amongst different people around the world. Jesus can be seen as himself, as central figure of certain faiths, or as another central figure of any religion around the world."
Joelle Turner “A Blank Man with the World in his Hands” 9th Grade
Joelle Turner: “This picture represents every individual man’s perception of God, faith, and play. The absence of color allows the person viewing this drawing to imagine it however they please from their own perspective. Faith comes in different forms amongst us all, and we all choose hot to color our lives with it."
"The Life of the Shoe" (2012) by Samreen Uzzama, Maya Alshawa, and Zeba Kokan, Photograph
Samreen Uzzama, Maya Alshawa, and Zeba Kokan: “This portrays the journey of life seeking religion and faith. The show represents man’s experiences leaving impressions, impact, and influence on his own views. Of the two shoes, one represents the impacts of different belief systems, while the other shoe symbolized fun and playfulness of life. As life goes on, the white shoe becomes one colored with experience, ad it has gone to many places."
Sanjna Vinze “Om” Batik 11th Grade
Sanjna Vinze: “This batik painting of the common Hindu symbol 'Om' expressed the most profound concepts of Hinduism. It is in use daily. It can symbolize music, faith and also meditation. These things can be enjoyed as a form of play and relaxation. This is why this painting expressed play."