The École française de Rome hosts the photographic exhibition: “Shared Sacred Places”

The exhibition offers the visitor a journey of exploration of the Mediterranean which touches various places of worship. It is a smaller version than the original, accepted in previous years by some of the world’s most important museums. Dionigi Albera, one of the curators: we would like to bring the fullest version to the capital during the 2025 Jubilee

Ilaria Sambucci – Vatican City

The exhibition “Shared Sacred Places – A photographic pilgrimage in the Mediterranean” was inaugurated on 6 December. The project presented by Brigitte Marin, director of the École française in Rome, together with the curators of the exhibition, Dionigi Albera, research director of the Center national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and Manoël Pénicaud photographer and researcher at the CNRS, aims to offer different and nuanced look at interreligious interactions in the Mediterranean. The visit revolves around 35 images and is divided into four parts: Saints and prophets, Christian and Muslim Mary, architectures, actors and mediators. “This photographic exhibition aims to launch a message of mutual understanding – he says Dionysius Albera to the microphones of Vatican Radio Vatican News – it is important to show that religions are not monolithic blocks, but that there are many aspects in common with each other and this also makes possible forms of dialogue, which pass through sharing”. The exhibition, with free admission, will be open until 19 January 2023.

Listen to the interview with Dionigi Albera

Raise awareness of the sharing of sacred places

“The initiative stems from a series of research conducted by anthropologists, historians, sociologists and geographers who have worked on the issues of sharing sacred places in the Mediterranean – explains Albera – so, about ten years ago, we decided to present the results of these analyzes in the form of an exhibition to have a wider audience than the readers of academic publications”. These exhibitions are called ‘society’ because they deal with contemporary issues and are characterized by the contamination of various languages: photographs, videos, works of classical art and more. “This is done to deal with issues of social value in a new way and this is what we also wanted to do – continues Albera – and before this Roman edition, which is in a restricted form, our exhibition was presented in previous years in various art galleries”. In 2015 Shared sacred places in fact, it made its debut at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille. The exhibition extended over 1200 square meters and in addition to the photographs there were works of various kinds. “Although the project was not designed to have an itinerancy, there have been requests from various museums to present it”, specifies Albera, who is keen to specify that since 2016 the exhibition has stopped in Tunis, Paris, Marrakech , New York, Istanbul and Ankara.

One of the photos on display

One of the photos on display

A renewed interreligious dialogue

The theme is that of the sharing of sacred places by the faithful of different religions. It might seem like a contradiction, but it really isn’t, observes the curator. This is a theme that is currently at the center of important developments of reflection from the theological point of view. “Even Pope Francis in past years has spoken of a theology of the Mediterranean that has a renewed interreligious dialogue at its core”, underlines Albera, who argues that knowledge of these phenomena can offer interesting food for thought for those who are attentive to the issues religious and spiritual. “I would also like to bring the large version of the exhibition to Rome – concludes Albera – perhaps during the Jubilee of 2025”. A way to raise public awareness even more about the sharing of sacred places.

The École française de Rome hosts the photographic exhibition: “Shared Sacred Places” – Vatican News