About this site:

These exhibits are brought to you by St. Norbert College. The content originates from the Digital Commons @ St. Norbert College.

Questions? Contact us at sarah.titus@snc.edu

About the Ancient Religious Mothers Art Gallery:

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Welcome to the “Ancient Religious Mothers”Art Gallery Resource!

Learning about world religions is an essential and important part of our education as cultural beings living in a multicultural world. This resource is designed to help everyone on that journey, regardless of how much you may (or may not) already know about the Ancient Mothers.

First and foremost, this professionally researched and carefully curated digital collection is meant to identify the prominent ancient women of color who were essential in establishing the popular world religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity that began in the Southwest Asia / North Africa region. Credit for the founding of these religions is traditionally attributed solely to the Ancient Religious Fathers, however, the Ancient Religious Mothers were essential in helping to “birth” and “nurture” the fledgling religions. Without the Mothers, the religions may not have survived or thrived as they did and continue to do today.

Equally important is that this Art Gallery portrays the Ancient Religious Mothers accurately in regards to race and ethnicity. These visual representations help dispel racist and sexist myths that may surround the Mothers, such as the incorrect traditional (or dominant) narrative that all religious founders were white males.

Instead the Ancient Religious Mothers Art Gallery allows us to see the women as they were: North African / Southwest Asian women of color whose experiences, actions, and strength helped lay the foundations for the emergence of their respective religions and whose stories continue to fortify those religions.

As you virtually wander through this resource, notice that each collection includes a brief overview about the Mother it highlights. These overviews provide Gallery visitors with some general background information on the Mother; they are not complete biographies, however. Scholars and historians are still piecing together what scant knowledge exists about many of the Ancient Mothers as patriarchal power structures have diminished much of the religious experiences of women as matriarchs and spiritual beings in their own right. This means that we need to dig deeper, ask tough questions, and have reflective conversations to truly begin to understand who the Ancient Mothers may have been.

Use this Art Gallery resource to help engage in those questions, conversations, and critical thinking skills! Let the Ancient Mothers and beautiful artwork speak to you, show reflections of your own inner strength, and help you question existing, traditional narratives.

Please access the “Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Religious Mothers Art Gallery” for additional information, ideas, tips, and examples of how to successfully navigate through both the Gallery and your own personal reflection journey.

With deep gratitude, we, the creators of The Ancient Religious Mothers Art Gallery, celebrate all national and global participating artists and their courage to bring art into our world. This Art Gallery would not exist without our Artists’ generosity and goodwill and we are humbled and honored to be able to collaborate with each one of them. Thank you, our wonderful Artists! *

Finally, enjoy this resource and thank you for visiting. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to serve as a participating artist, please contact Dr. Erica Barnett at erica.barnett@snc.edu.

*NOTE: Visitors, please respect the copyright of each artwork. If interested in a specific artwork, use the artwork’s “Credit Line” hyperlink to contact the Artist (as appropriate). This Art Gallery Resource adheres to the standards and guidelines of the College Art Association regarding Intellectual Property & the Arts and Fair Use for the Visual Arts.