Posted by: Titus Presler | August 2, 2016

Caravan Arts: Remarkable initiative in interfaith reconciliation through the arts

‘The Key’ exhibition is the latest offering from Caravan Arts, a remarkable ministry initiative in interfaith understanding and reconciliation led by Paul-Gordon Chandler, an Episcopal priest and missionary.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest newsletter from Caravan Arts:

During this time of increasing discord, misunderstanding and apprehension between peoples and cultures in our world, especially between the Middle East and the West, and also during the recent unease caused by the UK’s Brexit vote, Caravan has the privilege of focusing on the critical need of harmony through The Key exhibition in the heart of London at the historic St. James’s Piccadilly, a beautiful Sir Christopher Wren building near the Royal Academy of Arts.

The Key exhibition, following its March premiere in Cairo, Egypt, opened on June 15 in London. Running through August 15, the exhibition showcases the work of 40 premier and emerging Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Western artists and uses the world’s most ancient symbol of harmony and pluralism, the Egyptian Ankh, the hieroglyph that reads “life” (often known as the “Key of Life”), as a message of hope toward seeing a world that embraces religious and cultural diversity.

The Key will open at Riverside Church in New York City on Sept. 21, the United Nations International Day of Peace, so stateside people will have opportunity to view it soon.

The work of Caravan Arts is unusual in addressing current religious and cultural discords through art, and it’s probably unique in offering its art exhibitions on a traveling basis intercontinentally.  Caravan Arts is vitally important, and I salute Paul-Gordon and Lynne Chandler for their vision and dedication to this avenue of reconciliation in our riven world.

While The Key exhibition may seem a bit esoteric in focusing on an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph, Caravan’s other offerings are more accessible in highlighting contemporary artists from multiple religious traditions who seek understanding and reconciliation between cultures and religions.

‘The Bridge’ exhibition is a good example as it now concludes, in the USAmerican Northwest, an 18-month international tour.

Paul-Gordon Chandler and his wife Lynne have been missionaries of the Episcopal Church.  I participated in their orientation to Episcopal Church missionary work in the early 2000s, and in 2007 was able to visit them during their ministry at St. John the Baptist Church in Maadi, Cairo.  Earlier in their ministry Paul was rector of St. George’s Church in Tunis, so the work of Caravan Arts arises out of long and intense life and work in the Muslim world.

You can subscribe to the Caravan Arts newsletter here.  Read and be encouraged in a time of discord and discouragement in inter-religious relations around the world.  Better yet, go to an exhibition if one is near or your travels take you near one.




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