“Confessions for Humanity” Exhibition

Written By University of the West Author

UWest is excited to announce Confessions for Humanity, a project in collaboration with the Center for Lay ChaplaincyEach Wednesday in the month of March the exhibit will offer an interactive experience of confession in the exhibit space at Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel, CA.

Starting on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, the exhibit will be open and people can write confession cards and post them in the space. This project is an adaptation of Candy Chang’s work (https://candychang.com/work/confessions/).

Here is a project description for this exhibit:

“Confession is good for the soul,” or so an authority figure may have told you. Perhaps what drives the popularity of this aphorism is the experience we all have had of the lightness which can result from unburdening ourselves of our wrongdoing. Wisdom traditions, or faith traditions, have long accounted for the human need to confess wrongdoing by structuring the practice into religious rites.

Yet the act of confession also exists outside the practice of religion. Consider how the American legal system structures confession as an “admission of guilt” which must be made voluntarily, absent a context of coercion. For a confession to be considered legally valid it must be offered freely and it generally must include details of the crime.

The fifth step in Alcoholics Anonymous requires those who practice sobriety to “admit to a higher power (according to beliefs), to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrong.” The fifth step in AA employs the practice of confession as an essential part of the ongoing work of finding rigorous honesty in one’s life and relationships.

And finally, consider the role of confession in public life. When our politicians, religious leaders, or celebrities are caught doing wrong, we expect them to carefully admit and then take responsibility for their wrongdoing. And while there might be recent exceptions to this rule in our public life, more often how public figures confess their wrongdoing can be directly linked to the survival of their public careers.

How then should we understand the human desire for rigorous honesty that seems to cut across so many cultural and religious divides? And what might our desire for honesty about wrongdoing tell us about how the human spirit is nourished and the conditions under which the human spirit flourishes?

These are the questions which give rise to Confessions for Humanity. We invite you to offer a confession–either serious or playful–which can be displayed here in the gallery or taken with you. Either way, take a moment to name a confession and consider how your desire for honesty about your own wrongdoing may shape your relationships, both personal and public.

For more information, please contact fongs@uwest.edu.

Confession for Humanity
at Blossom Market Hall
264 S. Mission Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776

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