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Small Shrines Mushrooming in NY After September

on 2001/10/11 8:48:02 ( 1257 reads )


NEW YORK, USA, October 8, 2001: Since shortly after the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, New Yorkers have been creating impromptu shrines, memorializing the victims. People have placed photographs of the dead and missing, together with flowers and American flags, in many places, including the walls in Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and the 42nd Street subway stop, some of the city's most heavily traveled junctions. In the opinion of Stephen P. Huyler, a cultural anthropologist who specializes in India, these shrines mean that small portions of ordinary public space have become set apart, and sanctified, by what people have placed there. Such "sacred spaces," he said, "bring healing, allowing us to bridge our grief or find a form of solace, to be quiet at a time of turmoil." He is guest curator of an exhibition on Hinduism "Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion" at the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition, which he said is meant to introduce people to the intimacy of devotion as it is experienced in India, includes 11 small shrines like those commonly found in that country. In India, the variety of these shrines shows that there is no single, "right" way to approach the divine, that it is an individual matter, he said.

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