Santa Clara California

December 20, 2011 by staff 

Santa Clara CaliforniaSanta Clara California, The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University kicks off the winter season on Jan. 13 with a photography exhibit that explores diverse religious and spiritual practices of California residents.

Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited–A Photodocumentary by Rick Nahmias aims to give voice to those in marginalized communities. Nahmias worked with 11 communities:

– Beit T’Shuvuh, the nation’s only halfway house aiding addicts self-identified as Jewish;

– Buddhadharma Sangha at San Quentin Prison, a group of Zen Buddhist practitioners composed of men incarcerated in California’s oldest prison;

– Cham Muslims, refugees from Cambodia, who are a cultural minority due to their language and Muslim faith;

– Deaf Members of the University City Branch of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, a branch of the Mormon Church that caters to the deaf and blind;

– Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Coastal Miwok and Southern Pomo Native Americans, who have begun reclaiming ancient rituals, dance, and language;

– Immaculate Heart Community, a group primarily composed of former Catholic nuns, who pursue a doctrine based on social justice, strong feminist tenets, and advocating for the marginalized;

– People with HIV/AIDS at Kashi Ashram, a spiritual retreat that uses a combination of Hindu sacred practices and traditions to reach its members, many of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS;

– Rurally Isolated Pentecostals and Baptists, a mostly African American Christian community, who worship in small churches in unincorporated towns of Central Valley;

– Sex Workers Devoted to Santisima Muerte, a community of Latina sex workers in San Francisco, who embrace the female folk deity Santisima Muerte;

– Transcendence, the world’s only transgender gospel choir;

– Women of Wisdom at California Institute for Women, an interfaith and multi-cultural spirituality group for female prison inmates and women from outside communities

Working over a three year period, Nahmias spent multiple days with each group photographing and interviewing participants, who represent ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual diversity in California.

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