Seeing the Other: Sacred Listening & Portraits

A traveling exhibition and educational program based on the Portraits in Faith documentary project

Explore the Portraits

Exhibit at Muhammad Ali Center Museum opens June 1

Seeing The Other is a traveling exhibition and educational program based on the Portraits in Faith documentary project. For 23 years, Daniel Epstein has made portraits of 500 people in 29 countries, interviewing each one about their spiritual journey. The purpose is to show that all of creation is on a journey together and that there is no “other.”

Gina Alicea, Corvus Gallery Director, first encountered Daniel Epstein’s work through the Portraits in Faith website and book. She was immediately inspired to bring this artwork to the children in the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools to enable deep engagement in the concept of “the other” for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion week in January 2023. This was the birth of the “Seeing The Other” Exhibition.

The exhibit and educational program focus on these key questions:

  • Who do you see as “the other?”
  • When have you felt like ”the other?”
  • How well do you listen to others?
  • What have you learned from listening to others’ stories?
  • What can we do to dismantle our misperceptions of others?
  • What will it take to create more unity amongst humanity?

Upcoming exhibition

“Seeing The Other” will be starting a 10 month exhibition and educational program in the Muhammad Ali Center’s 3,000 square foot Ina B. Bond Gallery in June 2024. Daniel Epstein and Gina Alicea will be working with the community, including the Ali Center’s Muhammad Ali Center Counsel of Students youth corp in Sacred Listening.

 

This selection of ten portraits of Louisvillians was curated by the Muhammad Ali Center in collaboration with several partner and community organizations to reflect the diverse fabric of our city. Each individual was interviewed and photographed by Daniel K. Epstein to capture their unique story and perspective on faith.

In honoring the legacy of Muhammad Ali, we embrace his core principle of spirituality, which transcends religious boundaries and speaks to the interconnectedness of humanity. Like Ali, we believe that true spirituality fosters connections that bridge divides and challenge notions of the ‘other.’ Through this cohort of Louisvillians from Epstein’s Portraits in Faith project, we strive to embody Ali’s vision of unity and understanding with the aim of dispelling stereotypes and cultivating empathy in our community.

Ali’s belief that spirituality is a guiding force capable of transforming individuals and communities alike is reflected in each of the ten portraits. They represent the many ways faith influences and shapes lives in Louisville.

The Louisvillians portraits


Bring “Seeing The Other” exhibit and educational program to your community

The Portraits in Faith Foundation, LLC (a 501c3) is open to bringing the “Seeing The Other: Sacred Listening & Portraits” exhibition to other galleries, museums, and educational institutions. Gina Alicea and Daniel Epstein will work with your team to design and implement a combined arts and educational program that is age-appropriate. For further information, please contact Daniel K. Epstein, info@portraitsinfaith.org

Previous exhibitions

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

The original “Seeing The Other” Exhibition was at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Corvus Gallery curated by Gina Alicea, Gallery Director. The exhibition was featured for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion month in the winter quarter of 2023. Daniel Epstein engaged with 18 fourth through twelfth grade classes in the gallery focused on “Sacred Listening” exercises. Daniel also worked with the Lab High world religion classes to help them conduct their own self-reflection and interview others using the questions of the Portraits in Faith project. The feedback from the classes was very positive. Here are some comments from the school director, teachers, and students.

I just wanted to take a moment to share my 4th-grade student’s experience with the artist Daniel Epstein. As you know, we met with him for two days for workshops. On the first day, he spoke about his work and led us through an activity where we were challenged to bypass our biases and our concept of ‘other’. My students left with so many brilliant thoughts and action steps. The second day we met, Daniel took us through the process of sacred listening. We practiced listening to each other and will use this regularly and in an upcoming project. We were all inspired by this artist!
Tye Johnson
4th Grade Teacher – The Laboratory Schools
I think it just affirmed that this is what the kids want to hear; the stories of other people, and be inspired by it, and moved by it. I would recommend this program to any other school. This is high schoolers who are 14, 15, 16, who are in this massive stage of their life journey of figuring out ‘who are they?’ Daniel is asking the same questions of everybody and I think the more the kids can hear people’s stories, the more patience and empathy they’re going to have for everybody around them. That they know that person has their story, so I should listen first before I just to any conclusions.
Holly Johnston
High School World Religions Teacher – The Laboratory Schools
What stood out the most for me is really just the curiosity that I had in the interviews. I usually like to talk a lot, like, during conversations and stuff, but during the interviews, I was very, almost silent because it was just really interesting. It was a new depth of like… The people I interviewed, it was a new-like level of vulnerability that I… That they have not shared with me. I felt very privileged to have them share with me.