The Rev. Paul-Gordon CHANDLER is the Founder and President of CARAVAN: an author, interfaith advocate, arts patron, social entrepreneur and an American Episcopal priest. He grew up in Senegal, West Africa, and has lived and worked extensively throughout the Islamic world in leadership roles within faith-based publishing, relief and development agencies and churches. Most recently, he served as the rector of the historic St. John’s Church, Maadi in Cairo, Egypt (2003-2013). He has curated high profile exhibitions at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, Egypt’s Museum of Modern Art, Metz Cathedral (France), St. Germain des Pres in Paris, Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral, New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, London’s St-Martin’s-in-the-Fields and St James’s, Piccadilly.
Background on CARAVAN, the global coordinating body
The I AM exhibition builds upon nine successful years of strategic East-West arts initiatives implemented by CARAVAN. CARAVAN is an international peacebuilding arts NGO that originated in Cairo, Egypt in 2009, with the objective of building bridges through the arts between the creeds and cultures of the Middle East and West.
CARAVAN’s experience demonstrates that the arts can serve as one of the most effective mediums to enhance understanding, bring about respect, enable sharing, and deepen friendships between those of different cultures and faiths in the Middle East and the West. A flagship initiative of CARAVAN is the globally recognized annual CARAVAN Exhibition of Art, a unique arts initiative that brings together many of the premier and emerging artists from the Middle East and the West. These CARAVAN exhibitions have resulted in unprecedented gatherings of renowned Middle Eastern and Western artists who use art for intercultural and interreligious dialogue. These exhibitions have garnered attention from the international press, media and art world, and attract thousands of visitors. For more information on CARAVAN, see: www.oncaravan.org
Following on from the strategic successes of the CARAVAN peacebuilding art initiatives, the I AM exhibition takes the same message of intercultural and interreligious understanding and harmony around the world.
Finance Expert Michael Pak provides practical tax advice for visual artists. Michael Pak is the Chief Financial Officer of FiveCurrents. He received his B.A. Degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. from the UC Hastings College of the Law. Prior to joining Five Currents, Michael served as the CFO for a private equity investment firm, and as a business manager for entertainment industry based creative artists, executives, and production companies.
Anabel was born in La Habana, Cuba, in 1974, in a Cuba that was picturesque, quirky and resourceful – a Cuba that laughed through the pain – characteristics that are reflected in her own persona. Her family left Cuba for Spain when she was 9, and there her father secured a scholarship for her to a private Catholic school. It was here that she began to acquire her appreciation for art, at that time mostly for the great classic artists and their works; and it was here that her formation as a self-taught artist commenced.
She was uprooted again at 14 when her family moved to the US, to Miami, like so many other Cuban exiles, to make a new life.
Her high school education complete, she studied Business Administration, deaf to the voice of her soul that constantly reminded her that her passion is art and that her life should follow that passion. And so she graduated from college very well prepared to “make a living”, but empty and dissatisfied; knowing that making a living is not equal to living itself, but blind to her true calling and not knowing where to turn. In the midst of this existential search for meaning her life suddenly took a 180 degree turn and she decided to become a nun, entering religious life.
She entered two different congregations in different parts of the world, first in Miami, followed by service in Fatima, Portugal. During eight years of religious service, bound by vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, she anonymously produced dozens of art works in different mediums; works that currently grace churches, convents and the homes of private church patrons.
In 2011, after much soul searching, she envisioned a different future for herself and left religious life, returning to Miami, to face new challenges and create a new future – a future where her art, now free and without restrictions, truly reflects the journey to self-acceptance that has been her life.
Today Anabel lives with her partner and their two dogs in Coconut Grove, Florida.