Pope in Philadelphia: Public art project’s impact aimed at hunger and homelessness

Whether you’re planning on making the trek to Philadelphia for the papal visit or watching at home, you can participate in an art project meant to call everyone to action.

Visitors can write their struggles on strips of cloth in person to be included in an interactive art project that will be displayed throughout the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia. Struggles can also be submitted online at www.mercyandjustice.org.

The theme is “untie the knot of hunger and homelessness,” said artist Meg Saligman.

The project is part of a four-part initiative on hunger and homelessness inspired by Pope Francis’ favorite painting, Mary, Undoer of Knots.

“(The project) is a symbol of struggle to give voice to those that may not have a voice,” Saligman said. She was commissioned by the Hunger and Homelessness Committee of the papal visit.

One of the strips read by Henry Crane, an artist working for Saligman’s studio, read “pornography addiction,” Crane said. He didn’t expect to see just those two words written, and said it was very powerful.

They have been going through an average of 1,000 strips per day, Crane said. About 60,000 strips have been collected so far.

Along with the knots, there will be a grotto and a projection of hands tying and untying knots on the dome of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul.

The project will open on Thursday and will be hosted at the basilica until Sept. 28 when it will be moved to the courtyard of a mixed-use building (mostly apartments) in northern Philadelphia.

See it on YDR here.

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