West Valley exhibit aims to increase interfaith awareness

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WEST VALLEY CITY — An intriguing glass art exhibit at the West Valley Cultural Celebration Center represents not only the artist's feelings, but his hopes to bring interfaith awareness.

Because Muslims do not create representations of a Deity in human form, each piece of glass art signifies a name used to describe God, in their holy book, the Quran.

After 9/11, artist Andrew Kosorok says he realized he knew little about Islam and decided to study the faith.

"The images came as an outgrown of personal reflection on what I found out by reading the Quran, for example; by speaking with Imams and clergy, also by talking to people who have become friends who are practicing Muslims," Kosorok said.

It seemed appropriate to treat another faith the same way I would want people to treat my own.

–Andrew Kosorok, artist

The artist says his research strengthened his own faith while allowing him to broaden his knowledge.

"I am an LDS Christian, but being a Christian doesn't preclude an understanding or an appreciation for other beliefs," he said. "It seemed appropriate to treat another faith the same way I would want people to treat my own."

The names for God serve as a way for Muslims to seek deeper spirituality and find their way through God's universe. Many of the names refer to attributes that we need to develop to become more fully human — like benevolence, merciful, forgiving, patient.

Not everyone has reacted positively to the art, but Kosorok says even that has brought an opportunity for discussion and discovery.

"Members of the Muslim community have expressed happiness that somebody is looking at their faith in a non-sensationalist way," he said.

Kosorok describes this exhibit as a personal journey. What he learned, he simply hopes to use to build bridges of understanding.

The exhibit " The 99 Most Beautiful Names of God from the Quran" will be at the West Valley Cultural Celebration Center through Oct. 11.

Email: cmikita@ksl.com


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