About the exhibition

Join us in the James Gallery on Tuesday, March, 27th from 6pm-8pm for the opening reception of Shared Sacred Sites, with live music by special guest Yinon Muallem, a unique blend of sound and composition bridging across different religions and cultures from 7-8pm. The exhibition focuses on the stories of shared holy places in the Mediterranean through photographs, prints, miniatures, video, and a newly-commissioned Wish Tree by Anna Marie Rockwell for visitors to wish upon and adorn with objects.

In a world torn apart by ethnic, political, and religious struggles, there could be no better illustration of coexistence than the extensive history of sacred sites shared by members of different beliefs and backgrounds. Chronicles of the three monotheistic faiths are full of examples of conflicts and antagonisms, but also of occurrences of cohabitation, hospitality, and tolerance. The maps of the Mediterranean and the Near East are sprinkled with examples of shared sacred sites. Yesterday as today, many believers—Jews, Christians, and Muslims—do not hesitate to pray in the holy place of another religion.

Often people of different faiths converge in the same sanctuary because they are animated by a common quest for supernatural help and seek the protection of a particular saint with a reputation for efficacy. Despite theological differences, the Abrahamic religions possess many common elements, such as beliefs, rites, stories, and personages. These mutual influences and superimpositions form a fertile ground for the sharing of sacred sites, even if they may also generate the partition of such places between different denominations.

This exhibition is part of a collaboration with The New York Public Library and the Morgan Library & Museum on a series of simultaneous exhibitions, titled Shared Sacred Sites. The Shared Sacred Sites exhibitions, which draw on anthropological research based on fieldwork, propose a contemporary “pilgrimage” in Manhattan through three venues: The New York Public Library, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the James Gallery at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The displays at each institution will highlight historic material representing holy places and holy figures of mutual significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The series is curated by Karen Barkey, the Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity and Professor of Sociology at University of California, Berkeley, Dionigi Albera, Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and Manoël Pénicaud, Anthropologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research.

Click here for the Shared Sacred Sites brochure.

Also in conjunction with the exhibitions, please join us Thursday, March 29th in the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the Graduate Center, CUNY from 9am to 5pm for "Shared Sacred Sites Symposium: Perspectives on Pluralism from the Mediterranean to the United States," further exploring the extensive history of sacred sites shared by members of different beliefs and backgrounds.

For more information about the Shared Sacred Sites project and exhibitions, please visit the official website here.

Co-sponsored by The New York Public Library, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Wheelchair Accessibility