Within the Jewish and Muslim faiths, it is forbidden to depict the living form within a religious context. In this activity, participants can explore different ways by which they can create a self portrait, using a camera but not revealing their faces.
Begin the session by discussing why students think that depicting living forms is forbidden within some faiths. Explore the impact that this has had on artistic traditions within different faiths. You can use the online resources available here.
Have a go at producing your own self portrait in this way. Looking at the photos below, what techniques have the young researchers used? What others can you come up with?
Much of the film by the Young Researchers is made up of visual poems, inspired by the micrography that they discovered in Hebrew manuscripts such as the Sana Pentateuch. Other examples can be seen in the Sacred Books section of the learning website. This activity will help your class to generate their own poems. You can also use the film as inspiration.
Before class, give each student one of the following texts to read:
- The Christian Bible - Genesis 1:1 until 2:15
- The Hebrew Bible - Bereshit 1:1 until 2;15
- The Qur'an - 7:54, 79:27-33 and 23:12-14
In class, discuss how each of the texts describes the beginning of the world. What is the same? Where are the differences? Map out a time line of the seven days of creation. What happened on each day? Imagine yourself present on that day and use all five senses to describe how it feels. Ask students to contribute adjectives to build an atmosphere and keep a record of all of them. These lists can then be used as a starting point for their poems. Break the class into seven groups, one for each day, and using the adjectives ask each group to compose their own section of the poem. Ask them to present their poetry visually - what form would their poems take? Have a look at the Young Researchers poems for inspiration.