Exhibit comes to North Portland Library
What happens when the visual vocabularies of different religions are unified in an art piece?
Award winning artist Tamara English discovered similarities in the decorative elements of Islamic tile-work and Christian medieval illuminated manuscripts. She began exploring how these elements worked together and the result is “The Universal Book of Hours,” a series of oil paintings on paper which will be exhibited from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20 at the North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St.
Each piece references a specific time of day for prayer and contemplation according to different religions, including the five daily prayers in Islam and the monastic schedule of prayer in the Christian tradition.
“The paintings are explorations of what is sacred to each of us, beyond religion,” says English, “I was curious about how we engage with our own understanding of Spirit, and draw from what is important to us to shape this understanding.”
She explains how the controversy over the Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York illustrated the lack of tolerance among different religions. Her Universal Book of Hours explores the meeting place of these differing belief systems, ultimately asking the viewer to examine his or her own understanding of what is sacred beyond label or doctrine, to allow more respect and tolerance for different paths.
English has exhibited extensively in the Pacific Northwest. In the last year her paintings have been exhibited in New York and Chicago.