“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. It has just finished its showing in Rock Springs, and will now be available for viewing in Laramie from April 9-23 at St. Matthew’s Cathedral at 104 S. Fourth St. St. Matthew’s Cathedral will host an opening program and reception at 7 p.m. on April 9.
The April 9 reception will be followed by a lecture presentation by Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler titled “Living Under Abraham’s Tent.” This lecture will be given at 6:30 p.m. on April 10, and will focus on what people can learn from Abraham’s story about living together more harmoniously. Admission is free.
The exhibit is an artistic response to today’s climate of increasing prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. The exhibition is organized by CARAVAN, an international arts nonprofit affiliated with the Episcopal Church, and curated by Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler, the Bishop of the Diocese of Wyoming and founding president of CARAVAN.
“Out of One, Many” plays off the popular Latin motto, “E pluribus unum,” or “Out of many, one.” The exhibit focused on what Jews, Christians, and Muslims have in common because of their shared ancestor, Abraham. Abraham’s name translates to “father of many.” Jews identify Abraham as their founding father. Christians trace the lineage of Jesus Christ back to him. Muslims revere him as a friend of God, a father of the prophets, and an ancestor of the Prophet Mohammed.
Chandler notes that Abraham’s legacy is one of compassion, sacrificial love, and embracing “the other.” In the three faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, followers are referred to as the “children of Abraham.” He is seen as a model of hospitality, and welcoming of strangers.
“While in many ways it is a religious exhibit, in some ways it’s not. It’s really about living harmoniously,” Chandler said. He added that the arts are often an effective device in changing people’s misunderstandings and breaking stereotypes. Art can be transcendent, and speak to people in deep and visceral ways.
The exhibit involves three illustrious Middle Eastern contemporary artists — Quais Al Sindy, Sinan Hussein and Shai Azoulay — from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith traditions. Each artist has created five paintings that focus on specific themes from Abraham’s life that can guide the world today in living harmoniously, and interpreting these themes for a contemporary context.
The show will also serve as a catalyst for an array of diverse programming, such as an acclaimed Sufi concert inspired by Persian poetry, which will take place in Laramie on April 23.