Interfaith Design

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The AIA Interfaith Design (ID) Knowledge Community encourages and supports excellence in the design of worship spaces and their accoutrements. Interfaith Design is an association of professionals whose primary interest is religious facilities in a broad array of traditions. We value an interfaith forum for the exchange of ideas relating to religion, art, and architecture. Join us!

  • 1.  Faith, Art, and Spirituality

    Posted 09-07-2023 01:01 PM

    Hi Interfaith Design Community!

    This week we'll take a dive into design choices among religious art: How are the different understandings and aspects of spirituality and faith portrayed, and, most importantly, why? 

    The article Art and Interfaith Conversation tells us that interfaith design "encourage[s] people to look beyond the obviously religious and to explore how different understandings of spirituality were portrayed or challenged. Looking at medieval Christian art and sacred objects alongside Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu." One of these contemplative moments occur when seeing a painting of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus and whether this specific imagery "provoked conversations about our ideas of Mary as a woman, a mother, the mother of a prophet, or the mother of the Son of God, and whether each of those interpretations changed our perspectives on seeing her portrayed as breastfeeding. " Another moment occured when a, "Sikh woman noticed similarities between the expression on Jesus’ face at the crucifixion and the way the Sikh 5th Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji, is often depicted when being tortured." Going further into design consideration, the spacial design of the gallery depicting all of these religious artifacts and art was taken into deep account as certain arts and imagery could offend or be forbidden to others. This included even the heights at which religious books would be placed at. A separate article focusing on the colors used by major religions helps explain the importance of representational colors and their associations among different faiths design-wise and culturally. Down to the smallest of details, faith and spirutiality heavily impact design choices and how we percieve and think of others' religious arts.

    Rachel Hernandez
    Rachel Hernandez Person