Earlier this year, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation sponsored an art exhibition named ‘The Unity’ at St. Botolph’s Church, Aldgate in London.
The exhibition, which showcased the work of Vaseem Mohammed, is the second in a series sponsored by the Foundation. Through the collaboration of the Foundation, the artist and the church, we are using art in an interfaith context, in order to build bridges between various communities.
Vaseem uses Arabic calligraphy in his work, principally (but not exclusively) from the Qur’an. The paintings are displayed in a Christian church as a symbol of tolerance and respect for the two different religions. The sight of the beautiful Arabic calligraphy in the church was a moving experience for people of different faiths (and none!).
The project has an interesting background: Vaseem grew up within sight of the church and attended its youth club. St. Botolph’s has a history of reaching out to the diverse communities that surround it, and the Rector, the Revd. Dr. Brian Lee, is not only a valued minister, but a Common Councillor of the City of London, known for his work with the homeless community and inner city schools.
Following the events of 7 July 2005, when the church was used for triage and as the operations centre for the emergency services following the Aldgate bomb, last year’s exhibition (The Light of Hope) had more relevance than we could possibly have imagined.
The 2006 exhibition is timed as a commemoration of those affected by the bomb and as a beacon of hope for the future.
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