Golden States of Grace

Photographer Rick Nahmias explores faith on the edges of society in a photodocumentary exhibit at the de Saisset Museum.

We often see depictions of conventional religious practices, yet we rarely encounter the alternative forms of spiritual expression adopted by marginalized communities. Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited, an exhibit at the de Saisset Museum through March 18, 2012, aims to give a voice to those who participate in the diverse religious landscape of California, but who have been pushed to the edges of society because of conditions, actions, or circumstances.

Exhibit

In this photographic series, artist Rick Nahmias ventures into 11 communities who are turning to eight different faith traditions to find refuge, family, and identity. Looking to Eastern, Western, and indigenous traditions from around the state, Nahmias depicts groups who represent the remarkable ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual diversity in California. Whether they are Zen Buddhists practicing within the walls of San Quentin State Prison, members of a Jewish congregation of recovering addicts, or participants in the world’s only transgender gospel choir, each group stands at a religious and cultural intersection that few others have experienced.

Nahmias photographed and interviewed participants in the different communities, recorded songs to serve as an atmospheric backdrop, and collected prayers to accompany the book of the exhibit.

Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited runs at the de Saisset Museum through March 18, 2012. See a list of current exhibits here.

Nahmias speaks about the project in the videotaped intervew below.

SELECTED WORKS FROM THE EXHIBIT

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Take Charge

For the first time ever, all six academic leadership roles are filled by women—not bad for a school that didn’t grant women degrees until 1961

Bringing Tradition Near

Kaweni Ibarra ’19 learned how to reinvigorate history when he apprenticed with a Hawaiian tattooist his senior year.