Fine Art - Ellie Sophia

The Eve of Knowledge 

Religion Spirituality and the Arts’ mission is to bring people together from diverse artistic disciplines, practices and religious/spiritual perspectives. The program which started in 2014, was the vision of director Rabbi Sandy Sasso, who wanted a way to encourage the sacred tradition of art based on scripture. The program, now in it’s sixth round, chose 12 artist to study the creation story, I was among the artist chosen to participate.

Each individual student selected was asked to take what they had learned in class and use it to inspire their own art. For myself, studying the creation story took on new life when I began to envision Eve not partaking from a tree, but instead as a tree.

I imagine Eve was a woman whose wisdom ran deep like roots, her strength stood fixed with resolve, and her fruit populated the earth. Seeing the first woman as anything less is our curse. Instead, I choose to see her as the root of all wisdom. Let this be the eve of a new understanding: women didn’t take from the tree of knowledge, we are the tree of knowledge.

Out of Many: One Community

“It’s easy to blame, hate and fear those you don’t know, but if I’m the face you see when you hear intolerance, does it change the meaning for you?”

As I wrote those words on my social media page in the Fall of 2016, it was more of a plea than a question. As a Mexican American woman I was becoming increasingly fearful of the negativity I was encountering online. I put faith in the idea that exposing my heart, so others could relate to me personally, would help them gain compassion. It’s an idea that sometimes leaves me vulnerable, but ultimately led to this project. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is scary, but so is change. Change rarely occurs without a major catalyst pushing you to feel uncomfortable in what once felt normal. I believe the current, tumultuous climate of our nation is that type of catalyst; a unique opportunity for us to challenge ourselves with what it means to be a community.

As a photographer, I believe in the power of images. I have the unique privilege of creating something that captures a moment in time, and hopefully impacts its viewer in a meaningful way. “Out of Many: One Community” was born out of my need to create something positive, during a time I have felt my most discouraged. My sincere desire is that it encourages our community to stop and see each other; to pause long enough to reflect on something new, and be impacted by someone different. Some of the participants may look like you and believe like you, others may challenge you. My hope is that it leads you to an open heart.

Sixteen Indianapolis neighbors volunteered to make themselves vulnerable, to give you the opportunity to know them. Their ages range from 7 to 89, from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds. All of them with a unique word to share. One word, that above all else introduces who they are. I continue to put faith in the idea that exposing one’s heart, so others can relate personally, creates compassion. Ultimately, though we are many, we are all bound together as one community.

Meet the Participants

Out of Many: Loïc

Out of Many: Loïc

Game of Clones

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