Christian Artist Builds Bridges by Sculpting the 99 Names of God in the Islamic Tradition
Christian artist sharing the beauty he finds in Islamic tradition through celebrating the 99 Most Beautiful Names of God in sculptural stained glass.
American Fork, Utah (PRUnderground) January 31st, 2014
Andrew Kosorok, is a Christian stained glass artist and teacher seeking to build bridges of peaceful understanding among neighbors of different faiths. Drawing on his experience as an artist, educator, and interfaith minister, Andrew began exploring Islam through art- and sharing what he finds across the world.
Andrew begin learning about Islam shortly after 9/11 and was frightened at how quickly media attention and public opinion turned against one of the many faiths sheltered in this country. “In the US we are blessed with freedom of faith, but sometimes poor information and fear overcome our natural inclination to be civil to each other. This is especially true I find with how people treat Muslims and Islam.” says Andrew.
While Andrew had known Muslims as friends and neighbors, he realized that he had no idea what they believed. This encouraged him to begin exploring Islam through learning about the 99 Most Beautiful Names in the Islamic tradition and sharing his understandings through sculptural stained glass. As the sculptures are completed, they are exhibited in traditional galleries and universities, providing a meaningful backdrop for communication among very different people.
“This process has not converted me to Islam – I very much remain a Christian, and I am not seeking to “Christianize” this other faith. Rather, I find that honestly and earnestly seeking understanding for my fellow “Children of the Book” has deepened and enriched my own beliefs even as I gain appreciation for my neighbors. In addition, those who view the work are wonderfully affected in much the same way” said Andrew.
Each sculpture costs approximately $500 in materials and takes between 100 and 150 hours to build. The first 25 are complete and have been documented in a book now on Amazon.com, 99 Names 1 to 25: A Christian’s Exploration of the Names of God from the Qur’an. After cutting the glass for the next set of 25, Andrew is raising $7500 on LaunchGood.com to finish this set and publish the next book in the series documenting names 26 through 50.
“My prayer is that those who experience the work also feel a desire to begin projects with similar goals – finding points of beauty and commonality between disparate faiths so we grow closer together as communities, and share in building a brighter and safer future for our children.”
LaunchGood is a community & crowdfunding platform to support Muslims doing incredible work across the world, especially entrepreneurial & creative endeavors.