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Intercultural and inter-religious arts initiative brings the Middle East and West together
The exhibition is now on view at Washington D.C.’s world-renowned National Cathedral.

WASHINGTON, DC.- In the midst of the present turmoil and tension in the Middle East, an unprecedented number of premier Arab and Western Artists have come together at National Cathedral in Washington D.C. to use Art as a bridge for intercultural and inter- religious dialogue. An artistic group from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds, the artists are making a statement that they are together “praying” for peace, justice and the end to sectarian strife, living and working together in harmony.

The 6th interfaith CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art opened first in Cairo on June 17, 2014 at Egypt’s the Museum of Modern Art, and has arrived to the United States in September for its exhibition, first to Washington D.C.’s world-renowned National Cathedral and then to New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. The 2014 CARAVAN exhibition brings an unparalleled group of renowned Egyptian and Western artists together to use art as a bridge for inter-religious and Through the sponsorship of SODIC, a real estate company in Egypt, and supported by the British Council, the theme for the CARAVAN exhibition, “AMEN-A Prayer for the World ,” is an aspirational expression of hope and goodwill coming “out of Egypt” for the peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

The vision for this 2014 CARAVAN exhibition is for the Middle East and the West to embody the spirit of intercultural and inter-religious solidarity that was so beautifully illustrated for the world by Egyptians during the “January 25, 2011 Revolution.”

CARAVAN, an international inter-religious and intercultural arts non-profit, begun in 2009 in Cairo, Egypt, has the objective of building bridges through the arts between the creeds and cultures the Middle East and West. One of the flagship initiatives of CARAVAN is the globally recognized annual interfaith CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art . This unique exhibition brings together many of the Middle East’s premier and emerging artists to enhance understanding, respect, and deepen friendship between those of different faiths and cultures through the arts.

Each year the CARAVAN interfaith arts exhibition has garnered attention from the international press, media and art world, attracting thousands of visitors. In 2013, many thousands of Egyptians and foreigners viewed CARAVAN’s public art exhibition of painted donkeys (symbolizing “Peace and Compassion”) by premier artists from the Middle East and West, first throughout Cairo, followed by an estimated 120,000 people visiting CARAVAN’s exhibition in London, England at the world renowned St. Paul’s Cathedral. The London exhibition was followed by a charity auction of the artwork led by a Sotheby’s auctioneer for funding charities in Egypt assisting the poor irrespective of creed.

The 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art is focusing on Egypt and the United States. Entitled " AMEN--A Prayer for the World ,” 48 premier and emerging artists (30 Egyptian-both Muslim and Christian, and 18 Western--Christian and Jewish) were invited to participate in this unique visual art exhibition.

Each of the 48 participating artists has been given a life-size fiberglass sculpture in one of four poses of prayer to paint or decorate as they wish. The ‘model’ for the sculptural prayer form is Amun, the deity of ancient Thebes in the 11th dynasty (c. 21st century BC) who is considered the first to develop religion toward monotheism. The four sculptural forms therefore communicate a modern essence of Amun, each depicted with his face. In this exhibition the historic figure of “Amun” is being associated with the word “Amen,” an affirmation commonly used to conclude Christian, Muslim and Jewish prayers or blessings.

For the exhibition in Cairo, the 30 Amun figures painted by Egyptian artists were on display. These 30 painted Amun figures by Egyptian artists travelled to the United States to join with 18 Amun figures painted by Western artists for a joint exhibition held first in Washington D.C. and then in New York City.

The participating artists include a diverse range of premier Egyptian contemporary artists, from renowned veterans such as Farghaly Abdel Hafiz, Ahmed Shiha, Mohamed Shaker, to rising younger artists such as Marwa Adel and Karim Abdel Malak. As an artistic group from Egypt and the West, they are making a statement that they are together praying for peace, justice and well-being for all in our world.

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