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Wish You Were Here…


Church congregation, Nigeria

Members of the church at Iseyiu.
View full item in the Atla Digital Library.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a postcard as "a card on which a message may be written for mailing without an envelope and to which the sender must affix a stamp"(2021). But a postcard is equally a window into one’s experiences and adventures, especially on travels. They are a tie between the sender and the receiver, often connecting them across time and great distance. These standardly 4” x 6” (USPS 2021) pieces of card stock, delicate tokens, already bear witness to the possible profundities of postcards. Postcards go beyond painting a picture, to being the picture of what is captured. Due to their style and quality, postcards and photographs can be interchangeable as visual artefacts. Both can capture the ineffable qualities of a place and time, a peek into a given moment.

Can such ephemera contain or convey the sacred hush or grandeur of a sacred place?

The series here, comprised of postcards and images of Anglican and Catholic churches in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, are an attempt to answer this very question. Each item in the exhibit is an invitation to a shifted landscape of sacred spaces. This collection is a pilgrimage through sacred structures and communities, built in West Africa, by outsiders brining new faiths with them. May they transport you to further spiritual adventure.

Exhibit created by Marian Ekweogwu