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‘ABRAHAM: Out of One, Many’ to Make Final Stop of World Tour in West Hartford

A timely artistic exploration on living harmoniously, inspired by Abraham, the common ancestor of three celebrated contemporary Middle Eastern artists from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions will make the Mandell JCC in West Hartford the final stop on its global tour.

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Hartford Seminary and the Mandell JCC, in partnership with Episcopal Church in Connecticut, First Church West Hartford/John P. Webster Library are honored to present the final exhibition of “ABRAHAM: Out of One, Many,” Oct. 5-Nov. 16, 2021.

Curated by CARAVAN, an international peacebuilding arts non-profit, “ABRAHAM: Out of One, Many” is a celebrated peace-building exhibition that originally premiered in Rome, Italy in 2019. It has since traveled throughout Europe and the United States, with the final stop of its global two-year tour in West Hartford, CT.

“ABRAHAM: Out of One, Many” is a creative artistic response to the recent rise of antisemitism and increasing anti-Muslim sentiment, and to the general climate of growing prejudice and stereotyping, which is resulting in a new type of “tribalism” in the West.

“Art can be an effective agent in changing people’s misunderstandings,” says David Jacobs, executive director of the Mandell JCC. “A show such as this can serve as a force for social change and play an important role in framing and renewing culture. We are truly honored to be partnering with some extraordinary agencies to bring our communities this extraordinary exhibition.”

“CARAVAN has been an effective vehicle for ongoing interfaith engagement for years,” adds Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton, academic dean & professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary. “Paul-Gordon Chandler’s programs have been received well by religious leaders around the world who have appreciated and supported this work. The organization has a good record of accomplishment of promoting interfaith dialogue, as well as promoting the work of prominent artists all around the world. I am delighted we can be a part of this international exhibition.”

The exhibit involves three acclaimed contemporary artists of Middle Eastern heritage – Quais Al Sindy, Sinan Hussein, and Shai Azoulay – from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith traditions. Each artist has created paintings that focus on five specific themes from Abraham’s life that can guide the world today in living more harmoniously, and interpreting these themes for a contemporary context.

“ABRAHAM: Out of One, Many” opens on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 with a special presentation of the artists’ work by Reverend Paul-Gordon Chandler, president and CEO of CARAVAN (limited space is available for the in-person presentation | the event will also be held virtually).

“Abraham is seen as a model of hospitality – of welcoming the “stranger” and embracing the “other,” says Chandler. “The exhibition attempts to artistically answer the question, “What can Abraham can teach us today about freeing our world from sectarian strife?”

“Today’s climate of increasing prejudice and stereotyping, which has resulted in what some are calling a new tribalism, too often leads to a dehumanizing of the other, whether in worldviews, words or actions,” shares Chandler. “It is vital that this escalation of misunderstanding and misrepresentation not become the new norm. It needs to be counteracted by creative initiatives that are based on our similarities and what we all hold in common. More than ever, it is essential that creative demonstrations of dialogue be developed.”

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