National Portrait Gallery Faith Exhibition Launched
Submitted to: Religious Groups 
Posted: February 07 2007


7 February 2007 ( - All ten faith leaders whose photographic portraits feature in the Faith and Church exhibition were present at a reception hosted by the gallery on Monday night to mark the launch of the exhibition.

Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, Head of The Movement for Reform Judaism, whose portrait is one of the ten, said: "Arriving and seeing the ten photographs for the first time, I realised that, not only do we all know each other, but most of us are on first name terms. I was struck by the fact that I am part of a group who are committed to working together to restore the good name of religion and for the benefit of British society. It was both moving and hopeful.”

Faith and Church: Portraits by Don McCullin, which opened on Saturday and will run until 7 May 2007, celebrates the rich spiritual diversity of contemporary England. In ten newly commissioned portraits profiling the leaders and representatives of the main faiths in this country, the sitters were invited to pose in environments that reflect their spiritual life.

At the reception on Monday, the National Portrait Gallery Director, Sandy Nairne, and Professor David Cannadine, Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees both addressed the sitters and their guests, including the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Reform Movement President, Sir Sigmund Sternberg.

In his speech, Nairne referred to the exhibition as “a significant project for the National Portrait Gallery - portraits that will be greatly admired by our public – and (…) a true reflection of the strength of the network and trust between faiths in Britain today”.

The photographer, Don McCullin, who also attended the reception, is internationally recognised as one of the world’s greatest photojournalists. His images reveal an incisive eye and a mastery of light, from the early, award winning pictures of the building of the Berlin wall in 1961, to his searing shots of war in Cyprus and Vietnam, famine in Biafra, and AIDS in Africa. They are all photographed with unswerving compassion and humanity. McCullin brings these same qualities to the quiet, dignified portraiture he has made for Faith and Church.

Each of the faith leaders was given a print of their photograph which will remain in the Gallery’s Collection following the close of the exhibition.

The full list of sitters included in Faith and Church: Portraits by Don McCullin:


Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster

Reverend Baroness Kathleen Richardson of Calow OBE, former Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council

Reverend Esme Beswick MBE, first black woman President of the Churches Together in England, South London Church.


Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, Head of the Movement for Reform Judaism


Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE, former Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain

Dr Syed Aziz Pasha OBE founding member and General Secretary of the Union of Muslim Organisations


Om Parkash Sharma MBE, former President of the National Council of Hindu Temples


Dr Indarjit Singh OBE, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations

This is the most recent in a series of photographic commissions that focus on important areas of public life. The two previous displays charted the health sector and the telecommunications field.

The portraits have been shot on a Mamiya RZ 6 x 7, on Kodak Tri X film.

Don McCullin will be talking about his work at the National Portrait Gallery at 7pm on Thursday April 19 2007. Tickets: £5/£3; available in person at the Gallery or by calling 020 7306 0055.

Don McCullin’s new book, A Critical Look at the English, will be published in autumn 2007 by Jonathan Cape.

National Portrait Gallery opening hours: Saturday – Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am - 9pm Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information: 020 7306 0055 Website:


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    The Movement for Reform Judaism
    +44 (0)20 8349 5689  

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