Contact: Diane Dufilho, Director, Meadows Museum of Art, 318-869-5169
or Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120 

The Shekhina Project, A Selection of Photographs by Leonard Nimoy on Display Through Nov. 17 at Meadows Museum of Art, Centenary College of Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, LA -- The Shekhina Project, A Selection of Photograhs by Leonard Nimoy is on display at Centenary College's Meadows Museum of Art until Nov. 17.  

The schedule of festivities includes a visit to Shreveport by Nimoy, who will lecture on The Shekhina Project in Centenary's Hurley Auditorium at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 and participate in a book signing of a monograph featuring his photographs following his presentation. 

The Shekhina Project presents the first-ever monograph of Leonard Nimoy, photographer. This exhaustive and eerily beautiful photographic study of the female form reveals Nimoy's intrigue with scripture and spirituality. This special exhibition is part of the Shreveport's citywide festivities celebrating the centennial of Agudath Achim Synagogue in Shreveport.

Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Mass. in 1931. After his feature film debut in 1951, he pursued his acting career on the big screen as well as on stage and television. However, it was Nimoy's portrayal of the character Spock in the science fiction series Star Trek that earned him iconic status and three Emmy nominations.

Aside from his numerous credits as an actor and director, Nimoy is also a successful author, having published two autobiographies and several volumes of poetry, two of which also feature his photographs. He pursued an interest in photography since his teens, and studied at UCLA with Robert Heineken in the early 1970s. He recently finished an appointment as artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. 

The photographs in The Shekhina Project are based on scriptural mythology and ancient spirituality. According to the Kabbalah, evil came into the world once God became separate from the Shekhina, the deity's feminine counterpart. The Shekhina came to be understood as a crucial element of both divine and human spirit, symbolizing the creativity and wisdom, without which no being is complete. 

Nimoy has turned to photography as a means of inquiry into the mysteries of the Shekhina. In his introductory text, Nimoy explains the influence Shekhina has had on the work: "I have imagined her as ubiquitous, watchful and often in motion. This work is my quest for insight, the exploration of my own spirituality, and, as such, has been a deeply
moving and expanding process."

Donald Kuspit describes Nimoy's subject as "the transmutation of sexual desire into spiritual aspiration, that is, the problem of sublimating sexual attraction into ideal beauty." In Kuspit's provocative text, Nimoy's fascination with the female body involves an element of temptation as well as transcendence: "In Nimoy's ingenious photographs the covered figure symbolizes transcendental truth, while the uncovered figure evokes profane desire. The most intriguing photographs are perhaps those in which the figure is half clothed, half naked, conveying the conflict of spirituality and desire that I think is at the core of
Nimoy's art. …It is Nimoy's ability to convey woman's many-sidedness--Shekhina and succubus at once that makes his photographs profound." 

A selection of photographs from Nimoy's inquiry into the Shekhina in the Meadows Museum provide an exciting complement to the exhibition The Southern Jewish Experience, Celebrating a Century in Shreveport with Agudath Achim. A variety of programs and related events have been scheduled throughout October. For further information regarding the program calendar, call the Meadows Museum of Art at 318-869-5169 or 318-869-5040. 

The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, Louisiana.  The Museum is open to the general public from noon to 4 p.m.Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; from noon to 5 p.m.on Thursday; from 1 to 4 p.m.on Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed on
Monday.  The Museum is free of charge to the general public.  For further information or to receive a 2002-03 Exhibition and Program Guide, call the Museum Business Office at 318-869-5040.

This exhibition has been curated and organized by Umbrage Editions. The printing of educational and informational materials for this exhibition has been supported by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.  The Museum receives general operating support from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council with funds from the City of Shreveport.  The Museum receives annual support from the Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum.  The Museum seeks and receives funding and support from both public and private foundations and other sources on a project-by-project basis.
Calendar of Events

  • Aug. 27, 2002 (Tuesday): Two exhibitions, Celebrating a Century in Shreveport with Agudath Achim and The Shekhina Project: A Selection of Photographs by Leonard Nimoy, open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. in the upstairs galleries.
  • Sept. 9, 2002 (Monday): Docent training for the exhibition The Southern Jewish Experience with special guest Sylvia Goodman, chairman of the board for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, from 9:30 a.m. to noon the Meadows Museum of Art second floor gallery.
  • Sept. 10, 2002 (Tuesday): School tours of the Meadows Museum of Art begin at 9:30 a.m.  
  • Sept. 22, 2002 (Sunday): Public lecture entitled "Shekhina: The Feminine Face of God" by Dr. Susan Brayford, professor of religious studies at Centenary College of Louisiana, in the second floor galleries of the Meadows Museum of Art from 2 to 3 p.m.with light refreshments to follow the lecture.
  • Oct. 7, 2002 (Monday): Docent training for the exhibition The Shekhina Project with Dr. Susan Brayford from 9:30 a.m. to noon the Meadows Museum of Art second floor gallery.
  • Oct. 10, 2002 (Thursday): Exhibition Reception and Gallery Talk with Rabbi Foster Kawaler, Agudath Achim Congregation for The Southern Jewish Experience from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Meadows Museum of Art second floor galleries with kosher refreshments.
  • Oct. 13, 2002 (Sunday): Public lecture entitled "Jewish Ritual: Symbol vs Sacrament" with Rabbi Harold Robinson, Rabbi at B'nai Zion Synagogue in Shreveport, La., from 2 to 3 the second floor galleries of the Meadows Museum of Art with light refreshments to follow the lecture.
  • Oct. 20, 2002 (Sunday): Public lecture on The Shekhina Project by Leonard Nimoy, photographer, Los Angeles, Calif., in the Hurley Auditorium from 2 to 3 p.m.with a reception and book signing to follow the lecture from 3 to 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 27, 2002 (Sunday): Public lecture on "The Changing Face of Southern Jewry" by Macy Hart, director of The Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss., from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Meadows Museum of Art second floor gallery with light refreshments following the lecture.

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