More About Elders of the Faiths By Mark W. McGinnis
Elders of the Faiths presents portraits of and interviews with 15 spokespersons for a broad range of beliefs. Included in the book are various kinds of Christianity, such as Lutheran, Methodist, Hutterite, Mennonite, Episcopal, Catholic, and Baptist; Unitarian Universalist; Judaism and Native American beliefs such as Lakota and Shoshone.
The light of conviction shines in the full-color faces portrayed on the cover and in the larger black and white portraits accompanying the text. In question and answer interviews the subjects demonstrate not only the fine distinctions that set each religion apart from the others, but also the common threads that tie them all together.
McGinnis, whose interdisciplinary works have frequently explored spirituality, is known nationally for his paintings, sculptures, collagraphs, installations, videos, performances, essays and interviews. His publications include the 1994 book, Lakota and Dakota Animal Wisdom Stories.
In his introduction to Elders of the Faiths, McGinnis writes, "The portraits were painted in the summer of 1995 using photos and notes from the interview sessions as sources. I would many times combine various aspects of different photos of an elder to create an image I felt better reflected the character I wished to convey."
Not only the beliefs, but the ages of the subjects fascinated McGinnis. "I believe there is an aesthetic -- a type of beauty -- to aging," McGinnis writes. "The study involved in doing these portraits certainly helped to reinforce this belief."
Portions of Elders of the Faiths have appeared in newspapers and magazines regionally but have never before been collected in a single work. The display has appeared in galleries and in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. After a final showing in Pierre, the portraits will be gifted to the South Dakota Historical Society in Pierre..