The five photographs presented here are part of a series I am working on, based on religion and non-religion.
This is a work I started 2016, in Zurich, at the denkfest. The denkfest is a Skeptics and Freethinker’s conference, held once in a while in Zurich, Switzerland. This is where the non-religious thinkers get together to celebrate, free thought with no ties to religious dogma.
My fascination with world religions began in 1975, when I was and alter girl, in a Catholic congregation, on a US military base, on the island of Guam. (The Island in the Pacific, made recently famous this past year by North Korea.) On that Military base, there was a “universal” religious room, also called a chapel, where you could go for a blessing at any time from any religion. In that chapel, services and masses were also held for small groups of people throughout the day. Being an alter girl, I got to help the priests setup and put away, the Catholic things we used during the mass. One of the things we got to do was turn the religion dial that was behind the alter; you could make the room Catholic with the crucifixion, Protestant with a simple cross shape and then there was a third thing, a blank side. The blank side was to be used for all other world religions. As a 9 year old I found this fascinating, it was really a magical room, it could conjure up so many different Gods and that is where my search to understand God began…so many years ago.
In looking at these smiles, I now would like you to try to see if you can tell, somehow that these smiles belong to people who no longer believe in a deity. No belief in Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, Aphrodite, Zeus, etc. …they are really free thinkers and they smile too, just like the believers do.
In 2016, I finally left the dogma of the Christian church and am now happily attending Unitarian Universalist services in Basel. It is the nearest UU to Zurich and I love my newfound congregation! It’s like a family gathering around the holidays, any holiday. Complete with aunts and uncles, brother and sisters, distant cousins…people coming from all over, some from France, some from Germany and naturally some from Zurich. Then we sing and talk, and some very wise (and crazy) members tell stories and tales throughout the morning, to inspire and give hope for the future. Its how I like to escape, from my everyday life.
Thank you for taking your time to read about my project.
PS Later this year (or next), these smiles will be combined with other “multi-faith-ers and non-believers” smiles. MY hope is to promote peace amongst religions and peoples. My motivation is, I am really tired of all these terror attacks, wars and hate in our World, aren’t you? So now, my bigger project I call, “Its Enough Already, Peace Begins Here and Now!” one of my Smile Cloud Projects Artworks.
Find out more about this project and perhaps get involved by sending me your smile. Find out how at www.n-art.ch
If you like, you are welcome to visit me at a Unitarian Universalist service in Basel: Find out more at www.uubasel.org