On Feb. 16, large canvas photographs were hung on the walls of Bartlett Hall. This newly added exhibit, entitled “FaithMarks,” is sponsored by St. Mark’s church in Chattanooga, Tenn. Maryville College is the first showing outside of the city of Chattanooga since its start in 2012.
Although it is a Christian church that developed the exhibit, the artist statement said that candidates don’t need to be Christian but only to have a deep spiritual meaning behind their tattoo. The close-up photographs depict each tattoo, and alongside each picture is the story behind the ink. The tattoos depicted represent individual faiths ranging from Buddhist to Christian.
Campus minister, Rev. Dr. Anne Mckee, played a role in bringing the exhibit to MC. McKee said that she became interested in the modern approach to faith representation.
“For some people there is such a powerful drive to have a permanent mark that is really about art and expression,” McKee said.
She said that she hopes that “FaithMarks” will have a positive impact on the MC community.
“Lots and lots of people have a really attached emotional or spiritual significance to what they put on their body,” McKee said. “I think the more we reflect on that and have conversation with each other about that the more it strengthens community and respect for people.”
McKee said that they hope that the exhibit can be an interactive exhibit for students.
If any Maryville College student has a “FaithMark” that he or she would like to share, there are many modes through which it can be submitted. One way to do so is by visiting the website www.ourfaithmarks.com and clicking on the “Submit Your FaithMark” link. The tattoo does not need a Christian significance, only a spiritual or faith-based meaning.
In the meantime, McKee encourages students to take the time in Bartlett to look at the photographs and read the stories accompanying them. The photographs will remain in place until the end of March.