This exhibition, commissioned by the Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Mike Jones, in 2006 arose from an ongoing dialogue which is now over 50 years of multi-faith work in Charnwood borough. This area has a long tradition of taking a lead in what is rapidly becoming a more urgent series of debates around the country. What do we mean by faith? What does it mean to us personally when all the trappings of our cultural differences are stripped away? How can we get to the essential meanings which may unite us as human beings? How do we move beyond the perpetual focus on what divides us, in an almost juvenile addiction to be collectively distinctive from other groups at the cost of harmony between them?
These are all questions we hope this exhibition will raise.
This exhibition has also formed out of many dialogues undertaken locally in the month of October 2006. To some degree it is framed by the theme for One World Week 2006 – ‘Mind the Gap’. How can we be more mindful of the complications and blind alleys to community cohesion (and understanding between faiths) if we neglect the essential human values and characteristics that underpin the vast majority of our lives. Our differences are important and should be celebrated – yet we must also commit to understanding the celebrations, cultures and values of others and being able to have responsible dialogue between us.
This exhibition wouldn’t have happened without the support of many people including the Mayor of Charnwood’s Charity Appeal which made a grant to Charnwood Arts to help towards making the exhibition. There is no end to the thanks to the willing participants and their relatives and friends without whom this wouldn’t have been possible or as thought provoking as it has.
We must also extend our thanks to Runa Choudhury for her ideas and interest and to Natalie Chabaud for all the design work and her hard work in printing, framing and hanging of the exhibition and creating the on-line exhibition for Pixel and Grain. Thanks also to Hiron Miah and Kevin Ryan for their dialogue and the making of the images.
The photographs were exhibited at the Charnwood Arts, Pixel and Grain Gallery at Loughborough Town Hall. Each photograph was presented with a statement from each subject and the complete work can be found at the Flickr link below.