“I don’t laugh about religion. I laugh about human behavior.”

An Interview with Eran Shakine

Today, on 27 October 2016 at 7 pm, our exhibition “A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew” is opening with Eran Shakine in attendance. In the run-up to the opening, Gregor H. Lersch spoke with the Israeli artist about religion, art, and his sources of inspiration.

Portrait of Eran Shakine

Eran Shakine; photo: Shay Kedem

Gregor H. Lersch: What does “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew” (MCJ) show?

Eran Shakine: “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew…” sounds like the beginning of a joke. But that is just to get your attention.

The show is an installation consisting of 40 paintings, drawings, and three metal cut-out sculptures.

The three similar figures, their religious background unidentifiable, create situations by means of a vivid and comical body language. In every drawing they witness and experience major events in history or philosophy, or meet important figures like Moses, Buddha or Nelson Mandela. The three heroes, dressed as 19th century gentlemen, help each other in their journey to find the love of God.

Here, there are no stereotypes, no one is the laughingstock, everyone is the same; we see three human beings who explore life, nature, culture and philosophy, out of shared curiosity, without trying to prove each other wrong.

Why did you start to work on MCJ?  continue reading

The Boredom of Peaceful Coexistence – an Interview with Ármin Langer

Portrait of Ármin Langer

Ármin Langer; Foto: Kat Kaufmann

As part of the series “New German Stories,” we will present the book Ein Jude in Neukölln. Mein Weg zum Miteinander der Religionen (A Jew in Neukölln. My path to the coexistence of religions) by Ármin Langer on 19 October 2016. The author, who will be our guest on this evening, will talk about his life as a Jewish activist and his experiences as coordinator of the Berlin Salaam-Shalom initiative that sets an example of peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

We asked Ármin Langer three questions:

Alina Gromova: Ármin, you decided at the age of 21 years to become a rabbi even though you are from a secular family. What led you to this decision back then?

Ármin Langer: Already as a child I was open to religion, but this feeling found no frame until I was 20.  continue reading

“If you define ‘crisis’ as a ‘turning point,’ then post-war Europe appears to have arrived at such a point.”

An Interview with Ines Pohl

Portrait of Ines Pohl

Ines Pohl; CC BY-NC 2.0 Deutsche Welle

The European Union currently faces a tensile test: Great Britain’s vote to exit, the rise of rightwing populist movements, the lack of a solution to the flow of refugees, fear of terror attacks, and economic decline. Reference is often made, in the political debate about how to respond to these issues going forward, to history.

At our event, “Times of Crisis” on 7 September 2016, we would hence like to discuss the significance of the past for current European politics, particularly considering today’s problems, together with international guests from Great Britain, France, and Poland, as well as Germany. The panel will consist of Dan Diner, Dietmar Herz, Étienne François, Hans Kundnani, and Adam Michnik. The moderator will be Ines Pohl, of whom we asked four questions that extend our view to include the USA.

Nevin Ekinci: Ms. Pohl, you have been in Washington since the end of 2015 as the correspondent for Deutsche Welle. How do you perceive the debates about the current European “crisis,” from a distance? Would you even use the term “times of crisis?”  continue reading