ARG exhibit shows Abrahamic religions in practice

Text by Jeanne Leong

The Arthur Ross Gallery’s (ARG) upcoming exhibit, “Abbas: Children of Abraham,” provides a window into the culture and religious practices of the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Children of Abraham
At the Zakaria Muslim Girls High School. Batley, Yorkshire, England, GB, 1989. Photo by Abbas/Magnum Photos

The Arthur Ross Gallery’s (ARG) upcoming exhibit, “Abbas: Children of Abraham,” provides a window into the culture and religious practices of the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Children of Abraham
At the Zakaria Muslim Girls High School. Batley, Yorkshire, England, GB, 1989. Photo by Abbas/Magnum Photos

Officially opening on Saturday, Nov. 21, the exhibit features 66 black-and-white photos by internationally renowned photojournalist Abbas. Since 1970, Abbas has documented through his camera lens the “political and social life of societies in conflict.” He he has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid.

The exhibit, which runs through March 20, 2016, includes thought-provoking and poignant photos taken over a 13-year period across the world. Abbas documented activities such as girls in hijab Islamic dress playing touchball at a Muslim high school in Yorkshire, England, and a young boy and Hassidic man in discussion in Jerusalem. Another photo in the exhibit shows a Christian Dogon man holding a clay crucifix. This is Abbas’ first exhibition in America exclusively devoted to the theme of religion.

“So much of what’s going in the world is conflict, instead of tolerance, whether it’s political tolerance, or religious tolerance,” says Lynn Marsden-Atlass, ARG director and University Curator. ”We hope Abbas’ exhibition helps to bring about dialogue, tolerance, and greater understanding.”

The exhibit is a part of Penn’s Campaign for Community, an initiative of the Office of the Provost that aims to strengthen the University community by finding ways to discuss and understand important and difficult issues.

Abbas, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, will be coming to Philadelphia to present an Artist’s Talk at the ARG on Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. RSVP to sabrady@upenn.edu.

Programs and events related to the exhibition are scheduled through March. Admission is free. For details, visit the ARG website.

The Arthur Ross Gallery is located at 220 South 34th St. inside the Fisher Fine Arts Library. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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