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HDS Fellow Presents Art Exhibition on Cultural Activism and Identity

The Harvard Divinity School is located on 45 Francis Ave in Cambridge.
The Harvard Divinity School is located on 45 Francis Ave in Cambridge. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Kenny Gu, Crimson Staff Writer

Taurean J. Webb, an instructor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Harvard Divinity School fellow, presented a collaborative art exhibition called “Ye Shall Inherit the Earth & Faces of the Divine” at a virtual event sponsored by the Divinity School.

The event — “A Home for the Human Spirit: Cultural Activism and the Moral Imagination in the Inherit Art Project” — was part of a series by the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at HDS to showcase the work of its fellows. The virtual event included a preface to the work by Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary professor Brian Bantum, a video trailer, and an interview with a featured artist.

In spearheading the project, Webb said he hoped to reimagine links between Black and Palestinian identities and highlight “Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity and the shared joys and the shared fears.”

“While this project and this conversation isn't a move to kind of universalize Blackness or Palestinianness or exceptionalize them in these weird sorts of ways, it is an argument for and a project about constantly recasting and recasting and recasting and redeploying how we might imagine what I sometimes call these transnational resonances,” Webb said.

Webb said he hoped to build on the work activists and scholars have already begun in recognizing these connections and create a new “entry point” for those who were not as familiar with Palestine.

“I wanted to offer them a place to enter, hoping that when they saw people who reminded them of themselves, and they aunties and they sisters and they grandmamas and they cousins that they begin to see humanity a bit more broadly,” Webb said.

Webb’s project features both the work of and interviews with various artists to highlight the Black-Palestinian experience and connect it with a broader discussion of humanity.

“I gathered about 15 artists — visual artists — from both the African diaspora and Palestinian exiled migration together into a visual arts exhibition that uses portraiture as a way to reflect on the relationship between humanity and the sacred,” Webb said.

A traveling exhibition created from the project will continue to move around the U.S., and Webb plans to release a film in 2023 including artist interviews and footage of the exhibits.

—Staff writer Kenneth Gu can be reached at kenneth.gu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @KennyGu8.

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Visual ArtsReligionHarvard Divinity School