Monday, 16 September 2013

Deconstructing c o n f l i c t

Deconstructing c o n f l i c t is an art exhibition, an inter-faith lecture and an opportunity to engage with the aims of One World Week by bringing together people of different faiths and backgrounds from across Essex to share concerns about the causes of conflict, hear others' points of view and acknowledge shared values.

The art exhibition will be held in Chelmsford Cathedral on 21st - 23rd October 2013 (7.45am – 9.00pm, ends 3.00pm Wednesday) and will feature expansive expressionist paintings by Maciej Hoffman supplemented by related work from commission4mission artists. Maciej Hoffman is a Polish artist whose work is concerned with the trauma of all individuals and peoples who have suffered - and continue to suffer - worldwide.

The keynote speaker for our inter-faith lecture is Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum which seeks to build bridges between Muslim and Jewish communities in the UK and around the world. The lecture will be on Tuesday 22nd October, 7.30pm, in the Chapter House of Chelmsford Cathedral. A drinks reception will be held in the Cathedral from 6.00pm for those wishing to view the exhibition prior to the lecture.

These events have been organised by Chelmsford Cathedral, commission4mission and the Mid Essex Inter-faith Forum to inspire, inform and encourage more people of diverse backgrounds to come together to explore shared values and take action to build a just, peaceful and sustainable world. Our aim is to challenge stereotypes which cause conflict and empower people to live and advocate peaceful lives.

Maciej Hoffman says that he “views his art as both a means of self-expression and a way of engaging in public discourse, depicting contrasts, emotions and powerful human experiences.” His work has been the focus previously of conferences and events on themes of conflict and resolution in the UK and Poland, including Holocaust Memorial events.

Dr John Rees (Mid Essex Inter-faith Forum) says: “The Chelmsford Jewish Community (CJC) is small in number but large in spirit and energy. I am certain that the Art Exhibition during One World Week will hugely affirm the CJC in its worship and tradition, and, not least, in its struggle, corporately and individually, to cope with the legacy and nightmare memories of unspeakable horrors both past and most recent.”

Sidra Naeem (Islamic Representative, Mid Essex Inter-faith Forum) says: “Muslims can feel very isolated and excluded due to the negative portrayal of Islam in the media resulting in Islamophobia. Members from the BME communities have often come across race/hate crime or have taken refuge in the UK due to horrific conditions in their own countries such as poverty, war, persecution, genocide or oppression due to government and politics. An art exhibition depicting these issues would greatly benefit members from the BME sector as well religious groups, including Muslims, as it would assist in the recovery process as well as raise awareness of these issues in the wider community. It would also help them to come to terms with the problems they have encountered in their lives.”

The Revd. Canon Ivor Moody (Vice-Dean, Chelmsford Cathedral) says, “We wish to use the interest, challenge and impact of art to draw people from our differing communities into genuine dialogue with each on the basis of the real issues each of us face. These events will bring issues of justice and peace to the centre of local family, school and community life. We will take this message into schools by linking it to a schools art exhibition which follows immediately after Deconstructing C o n f l i c t at the Cathedral.”

Our approach builds on the success of previous Mid Essex Inter-faith Forum One World Week events and the unique combination of art, presentations and debate which Maciej Hoffman has initiated in previous exhibitions such as: Art of Reconciliation 2012 - Edith Stein Centre, Wroclaw Poland; Blue Line Holocaust Memorial Exhibition 2012 - Town Hall, Barry; Journey Line 2011 - Town Hall Wroclaw; and Journey Line 2010 - Oxford Chabad Society.

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