a confluence of theology and the arts (Dunedin, 29–30 July 2011)


A group exhibition is being planned to coincide with the conference.

Theme: To mend the world (Tikkun Olam)

The arts and theology have woven a rich and sometimes tumultuous history together. Their association attests to the manifestation of a range of approaches which celebrate, question or confound both the sacred and human artistry. This exhibition and conference seek to foster this history.

To mend the world: Tikkun Olam. This Jewish phrase speaks of the depths of tragedy while simultaneously looking for repair. It was used especially after the holocaust to ask whether the damage done can ever be repaired. It also invites other difficult and unavoidable questions: Can poetry, for example, still be written after unspeakable tragedy, a concerto played, a brush taken up? Must it be written, played, or taken up, perhaps more than ever?

The world still labours under the agonies of terrible evil and suffering. Many believe that both theology and art speak to and anticipate the fulfilment of creation in participation with the divine love. Both are human attempts to speak to and anticipate the mending, or healing, of all things – of the world, and of the arts (and artists) themselves.

Sponsored by the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago,
and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.