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Sara Surani's Creative Portfolio


In Naguib Mahfouz’s Children of the Alley, Mahfouz tells the story of sons of Gebelawi who try to restore social justice in the alley outside Gebelawi’s grand estate. Interestingly, God is represented as Gebelawi and each of his sons is an allusion of a revered prophet from one of the three Abrahamic religions. I think it is particularly fascinating how Mahfouz decides to humanize idealized prophets and shows how even the most idealized and spiritual of figures have flaws. He also shows how religion is like a stream of events, all connected by stories, and differing only in their cultures.

I took this reoccurring concept in the book and decided to paint my interpretation of this theme. I believe that the Abrahamic religions are one in the same, and that all religions teach and preach the same morals and reasons for being a genuinely selfless human being. To me, the main difference between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is that they were all set in different cultural contexts. Rather than being three separate entities, I believe that the stories of the three religions are continuous and interwoven.  To show this viewpoint, I painted the world and drew white figurines holding hands in front of it.  The blue and green colors of the world reflect the peace and tranquility of the world if there was no conflict and if individuals respected each other’s differing views and identities. The white color represents each messenger’s pure intention to restore social justice and make the world a better place. However, the human form of each individual symbolizes how even though each prophet created great change in the minds of their followers and stirred the world, they were all still just human beings. Lastly, the linked arms represents how religion is a continuous cycle and how there is a sense of unity between the faiths.

October 15th, 2014 at 1:59 AM