A journey through geographies and communities of shared sacred places by the three monotheistic religions in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, is unfolded at the exhibition “Shared Sacred Sites” at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, which is officially extended untill Februaty 18, 2018. The exhibition is part of a three-part exhibition, also, presented at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the Yeni Camii, where it will be hosted untill January 14, 2018.
As they have done in the past for centuries, several Christians, Jews and Muslims may pray today in sanctuaries belonging to another religion. The presence of shared sacred sites is a well-established phenomenon in the Mediterranean, revealing the permeability of the frontiers between religious communities. Despite theological differences, the three religions share a number of elements in terms of beliefs, rites, holy figures and places. These crossovers, however, are not devoid of ambiguity and can sometimes also lead to conflict. The Mediterranean world thus offers many examples of sharing, but also of partition and division.
The three-part exhibition “Shared Sacred Sites” explores this phenomenon by locating it through various examples in different contexts and by bringing forward the entangled places and practices, symbols and figures that define it.
A journey through geographies and communities of shared sacred places
The exhibition at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography unfolds in eight sections, where three distinct levels of photographic narration, one historic, one purely documentative and one artistic, are interwoven. We travel in regions where geography, history and tradition, social conditions and mixed communities crafted unique examples of cohabitation, of shared sacred sites and practices among groups of different religions.
Our tour begins from the “Holy City”, Jerusalem, sacred to all three monotheistic religions, where coexistence occurs, but in parallel and profoundly segregated ways. Divisions in the Holy Land become even more apparent in the section on the “Walls”.
The next sections on “Mountains” and “Islands” show us various communities, with lesser or greater isolation, from North Africa to the Aegean, where peaceful coexistence and the sharing of sacred sites constructed a common ground. Here the example of some Christian monasteries in Syria is high lightened as they confront the tragedy of civil war.
Through the numerous scattered “Sites of the Virgin” we encounter the timeless worship of Mother Mary by both Christians and Muslims, while in the section “Caves” we learn about exorcism rituals and about the legend of the Seven Sleepers that crosses through regions, cultures and religions.
Towards the end of the exhibition, the “In-betweens” of religious traditions and practices – and their hybridity- are explored in the Balkan region, while the makeshift worship places of immigrants in Greece are revealed in the section “From one coast to the other”, where a photographic project brings together diverse ethnic and religious communities and their experience.
Photographers of ThMP’s exhibition
Alexandros Avramidis (GR), Yeosf Alraheel (SY), Marios Ververis (GR), Tassos Vrettos (GR), Faraj Chammas (SY), Manuel Çitak (TR), Magali Corouge (FR), Gianni Berengo Gardin (IT) © Contrasto, Harris Georgoussis (GR), Christophe Goussard (FR) © Agence VU, Nele Gülck & Nikolai Antoniadis (DΕ), Robert Jankuloski & Elizabeta Koneska (FYROM), Izzet Keribar (TR), Sara Kuehn (DΕ), Ludovic Maisant (FR) © Getty Images, Jean-Luc Manaud (FR) © Gamma-Rapho-Keystone, Diàna Markosian (AM–US), Cécile Massie (FR), Giorgios Mavrommatis, Aggeliki Rovatsou & Miranda Terzopoulou (GR), Andrea Merli (IT), Ilias Michalakis (GR), Eva Darara (GR), Avraam Pavlidis (GR), Manoël Pénicaud (FR), Paris Petridis (GR), Franck Pourcel (FR), Antonio Pusceddu (IT), Guy Raivitz (IL), Ivo Saglietti (IT), Fanny Sarri (GR), David Sauveur (FR) © Agence VU, Ahikam Seri (IL) © Panos Pictures, Laramie Shubber (UK), Nikoletta Tzianoudaki (GR), Jeff Vanderpool (GR–US)
The three-part exhibition is being organized by the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
IDEMEC, CNRS–Aix–Marseille University, France
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Dimitris C. Papadopoulos, PhD
Department of Anthropoly, Western Michigan University, USA
IDEMEC, CNRS–Aix–Marseille University, France
Curator: Stergios Karavatos
Assistant curator: Danaë Tezapsidou
Research: Olga Moutsianou
Scientific consultant: Giorgios Mavrommatis
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Nicholas J. and Anna K. Bouras Foundation
Robert Bosch Stiftung
ΕΡΤ3, 95.8FM, 102FM, TV100, FM100, Η Καθημερινή, Μακεδονία, ΕΠΙΛΟΓΕΣ, makthes.gr, parallaxi, Athens Voice, Μήνυμα 107.7
The exhibition is part of the Parallel Program of the 6th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art “Imagined Homes” (30.09.2017-14.01.2018 / www.thessalonikibiennale.gr). The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)
The exhibition is also part of the Parallel Program of 52th Dimitria Festival
Educational programs and guided tours will be realized throughout the exhibition.
Thessaloniki Museum of Photography
Warehouse A’, Port of Thessaloniki
T: +30 2310566716
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours: Tuesday/Wednesday/ Thursday/Saturday/ Sunday 11:00–19:00, Friday 11:00–22:00, Monday closed
*Photo: Stergios Karavatos