On September 11, acclaimed contemporary artist Jitish Kallat unveiled a colorful, site-specific installation on the grand staircase inside the Art Institute of Chicago. Called Public Notice 3, the installation transcribes a landmark speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda, a young Hindu monk, who spoke of religious tolerance at the First Parliament of the World’s Religions. Though the event took place over a century ago, on September 11, 1893, the speech will always be remembered because it asked for a respectful recognition of all traditions of belief through universal tolerance.
You can read Swami Vivekananda's speech in its entirety, here
, or read an excerpt of it, below.
"I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation."
Showing the great chasm that exists between that speech and what happened after September 11, 2001, the text of the speech is displayed in the colors of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security alert system. The installation asks us to explore the possibility of revisiting the historical speech as "a site of contemplation" and a "trenchant commentary on the evolution, or devolution, of religious tolerance across the 20th and 21st centuries."
Public Notice 3
is first major presentation in an American museum of Jitish Kallat’s work. It will be on display until January 2, 2011. Make sure to check it out!
The Art Institute of Chicago