In collaboration with Liz Arcus Photography, the Shepparton Interfaith Network came together to highlight the importance of prayer and peace on September 21. On display were pictures of 21 participants from multiple faiths, including Roman Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism.
Ms Arcus said the photography project was two years in the making, due to COVID-19 restrictions, and showed how members of each religion prayed.
“I’ve seen prayer and reflection happen in different spaces and ways in intimate spaces,” Ms Arcus said.
“And I think as a photographer, I was drawn into that reference space, whether it’s prayer, whether it’s meditation, whether someone identifies a religion or not, and I felt it could be fascinating to photograph people in prayer in different spaces.
“You think you’re coming together to do a particular action, but in reality, you’re connecting as one and taking care of one another.”
Ms Arcus is baptised as an Anglican but believes in Buddhism and said interfaith allowed her to feel at one with all religions.
“They’re all aiming towards the same goal in life,” she said.
“So I’ve mixed up everything … You know, I could be in a temple, I could be in a mosque, I could be in a church. I don’t actively seek that, but I find myself in those spaces with people.”
Participant Sarmed Yassin, a practising Sunni Muslim, said the exhibition gave him extra respect for Islam.
“I’ve gotten a greater appreciation for the religion and the teachings of Islam, and come back to this then in terms of giving the prayer, and also connected with one’s people,” Mr Yassin said.
His photo inspired him by showing the togetherness of mass prayer. “There’s much emphasis in Islam around praying in a group and doing things together, bringing people together, and obviously with COVID that was very much missed and people feel that disconnect,” he said.
“I guess people realise how grateful they are for those activities.”
Harneet Kaur, another participant, practises Sikhism and her inspiration for her photo was to show peace and love in her prayer. “This project is about promoting multiculturalism and like, different phases, but they still have something in common,” Mrs Kaur said.
She said it was great to show support for each other’s religion. “We are from different countries, different regions, but this is amazing to be together,” she said.
Interfaith Minister, Rev. Chris Parnell said the exhibition was all about coming together and providing a sense of peace.
“This exhibition is important as today is World Peace Day, and the interfaith community comes together to show unity in diversity and harmony in difference, which is most needed in these uncertain times,” he said.
Image Credit: Shepparton News/Patrick Morrow