Can new art reimagine the biblical Paul?
A newly launched project entitled ‘Reimagining Paul’ is inviting artists to reimagine the biblical Paul as mother, enslaved, disabled and scarred, for a commission of up to £10k.
The project intends to inspire fresh imaginings of the apostle within the contested area of religion and gender in the form of newly commissioned art. It is planned that the work will tour several cathedrals later this year in the form of an exhibition, inspiring dialogue on biblical texts and their relationship to contemporary conversations about gender.
Grace Emmett, Visiting Researcher at the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (part of the University of Sheffield), said:
"The ‘Reimagining Paul’ project is an exciting opportunity to visualise a familiar biblical figure in unfamiliar ways. We’re used to seeing Paul depicted in certain modes— convert, letter-writer, preacher—but I’m fascinated to see how our perspective on Paul and his letters might change if we draw inspiration from texts not commonly subject to artistic imagination."
‘Reimagining Paul’ will create an exchange of ideas between the artist, experts in biblical criticism, and the general public who will be invited to give their own opinions and views on Paul. The project description can be found here.
Jeremy Clines, coordinating chaplain at the University of Sheffield’s Chaplaincy Centre said:
"We’re delighted that the university’s Sir Henry Stephenson Trust has funded a radical and daring project that will help broaden and deepen the conversation about an important figure in both Jewish and Christian narratives. Grace’s project will carefully open up new conversations and different ideas for interpreting Paul as someone whose letters continue to be central to debates about gender in contemporary Christian communities."
Proposals for the project are being accepted for artwork in any medium, and applicants do not need to be particularly familiar with Paul’s letters, nor espouse any particular faith or belief identity. The deadline for submissions is 11th March, and the full call for proposals can be found here. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Grace Emmett before the deadline on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their initial proposal.
- The full title of the project is: Reimagining Paul: Apostolic Portraits of Masculinity. - Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SCIBS) is based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield.
- For a conversation about the project, contact Grace Emmett on email email@example.com.
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