Congratulations to Bruce West, professor of photography in the art and design department, whose photography work is currently featured as part of the God Factor project in Portugal. The exhibition is scheduled in the Säo Martinho de Tibäes’s monastery of Braga (Portugal) during the months of November and December.
“The God Factor is a truly international project featuring artists and photographers from the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Nigeria, Poland, India, New Zealand, Brazil, and beyond,” West explains. He describes it as, “people using art to describe their relationship with religion and spiritual aspects.”
West looks forward to traveling to Portugal for the exhibition and is excited to be involved with the project. He will participate in a panel discussion with the curator for the show (who discovered West’s work through exploration of his website) and the Director of the National Museum. The photographs from his collection, “Spiritual Advisor to the World,” which he describes as, “a celebration of the material and spiritual work of Reverend H.D. and Margaret Dennis,” were selected for display. West will present a lecture featuring a retelling of the story behind his photo collection. He has also been invited to write text for the exhibition and catalog.
In 1994, West decided to spend his sabbatical photographing the American South, an area in which he had not yet traveled. It was during this visit that West encountered the Reverend H.D. Dennis and his wife, Margaret, and struck up a special relationship that has developed over the years. Dennis, preacher, architect, folk artist, and self-proclaimed “spiritual advisor to the world,” allowed West to capture the reverend’s relationship with God through his photography. Rev. Dennis and his wife devoted twenty years transforming a former grocery store into a one-of-a-kind nondenominational church. “God don’t have no white church, God don’t have no black church, God has one church,” reads one of the many signs outside. Dennis, according to West, was one of the most incredible and dynamic people he had ever met. To West, the South, especially Mississippi, are perhaps the most unique parts of the U.S., and every summer since 1994 he has returned there to continue capturing the unique spirit of the region.
View West’s photo collections, including the “Spiritual Advisor to the World” by visiting his website, Bruce West Photography.