Lancaster University: Sacred art exhibit celebrates diversity during Pride month

Lancaster Priory provided a special backdrop for an exhibition, curated by Lancaster University, to celebrate queer and ethnic minority women in religion.

The Rev Dr Angela Yarber’s exhibit, “Queering the Dream”, celebrated the lives and legacies of queer, and ethic minority, women from sacred history and mythology as a way of diversifying religious spaces during Pride month.

Hosted by the Lancaster Priory and sponsored by the Lancaster Friends, the exhibit featured twelve images of revolutionary women of colour, who inspired the artist’s spiritual journey as a queer, Latinx clergywoman.

A leading LGBTQ+ theologian and Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Dr Yarber embarked on a lifelong journey to decolonise sacred art through her Holy Women Icons project. This project expands the representation of women, and people from underrepresented groups, in worship spaces across the world.

Among the women represented was Pauli Murray (1910-1985), the first African American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest. Referred to by Dr Yarber as the ‘Goddess of Pride’ Murray inspired the artist to pursue her own religious vocation as a queer woman.

The exhibit was curated by Dr Azelina Flint, a specialist in women’s writing and sacred art at Lancaster University. Dr Flint is a member of the Decolonising Lancaster University Network, which strives to raise awareness of the contributions of people of colour to history and culture throughout the world.

“I discovered Angela’s art through the amazing work she does at the Tehom Center,” said Dr Flint. “This non-profit organization for art, spirituality and social justice offers courses on revolutionary women to women from marginalised backgrounds.”

Dr Yarber travelled from Florida for the event, which attracted interest from Lancaster University students and staff, the Priory members and beyond.

“It’s wonderful art,” a member of the public said, “but I’m pleasantly surprised to see such an inclusive exhibit in a space as old as the Priory.”

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