LONDON, ENGLAND.- The National Portrait Gallery will present Faith and Church: Portraits by Don McCullin, on view February 3 to May 7, 2007. Faith and Church celebrates the rich spiritual diversity of contemporary England. In ten newly commissioned portraits profiling the leaders and representatives of the main faiths in this country, the sitters were invited to pose in environments that reflect their spiritual life. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury is pictured in the 14th century Guard Room at Lambeth Palace under the watchful eyes of his 17th century predecessors; Methodist Kathleen Richardson, Baroness of Calow, is shown in John Wesley's study, in the house the evangelist built for himself in1779.
The Central Mosque, Regent's Park and the meeting room of the Union of Muslim Organisations in London, locations for the two Muslim sitters, Sir Iqbal Sacranie and Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, represent both the spiritual and the cultural aspects of Islam. Hindu sitter Om Parkash Sharma adopts a yogic pose in the temple room at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare in Watford.
Sir Jonathan Sacks is shown at the St John's Wood synagogue where he was inducted as Chief Rabbi in 1991. Dr Indarjit Singh, founder of the Network of Sikh Organisations, poses with musicians at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, in Hounslow. Other sitters and locations extend this rich range of cultural and spiritual settings.
The photographer, Don McCullin is internationally recognised as one of the world's greatest photojournalists. His images reveal an incisive eye and a mastery of light, from the early, award winning pictures of the building of the Berlin wall in 1961, to his searing shots of war in Cyprus and Vietnam, famine in Biafra, and AIDS in Africa. They are all photographed with unswerving compassion and humanity. McCullin brings these same qualities to the quiet, dignified portraiture he has made for Faith and Church.
Reflecting on this commission, McCullin speaks of the burden of suffering he has witnessed and his hope that these portraits will be 'representative of humanity, strong enough to bring us together in a peaceful and harmonious way, so that we can lead ourselves out of the warring, pain and suffering. We must have mediation, especially now, and these ten people are so vitally important to that process.'