The exhibition Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place investigates the ways in which our memories, dreams, and most intimate moments live on in the objects we create, inherit or give away during our lifetime as acts of faith, love, or hope.
Faith is common to all human societies. By focusing on the material artifacts produced with the intention of being offered as acts of faith, Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place will provide a perspective on why humans across the globe create these material objects. Examining votive objects—often created to fulfill a vow or as a pledge and placed at a sacred space or site of communal memory—Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place will look at the things humans choose to offer in their votive transactions and will strive to uncover the most intimate moments in the lives of humans, revealing how our dreams and hopes, as well as our fears and anxieties, find form in votive offerings. A portion of the exhibition will center on the creation of the votive object from its moment of inception through its construction and memorialization. The place of ephemeral objects, such as food and candles, will also be examined. Encompassing exquisite works of art as well as those of humble origin crafted from modest material, more than 300 objects dating from 2000 BC to the twenty-first century will be on display. Powerful works from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, representing the majority of world religions, will expose the global nature of votive practices and the profoundly personal nature behind their creation.