During the more than ten years that Lois Bielefeld has spent as a photographer, she has always wanted to create a series exploring religion and the Church. Her 2015 artist residency in Luxembourg
, made possible by a partnership between MOWA and Ansay Development Corporation of Port Washington, Wisconsin, provided her with that opportunity.
offers an intimate glimpse into people’s relationships with their religious beliefs. When Bielefeld visited the towns and villages of the tiny European nation of Luxembourg, she was struck by how the Catholic Church played an integral role in daily life. The Church impacted people’s routines, infiltrated their homes, and inspired their beliefs.
For her project, Bielefeld invited individuals ranging from parishioners to clergy to speak with her and pose for a portrait in a place where they felt most connected to the Church and their faith. For example, Fr?re Gabriel, a monk, chose to be photographed at the Abbaye Saint-Maurice of Clerveaux; Jutta, who worked at the Central Hospital of Luxembourg and in pastoral care, wanted her portrait taken in the hospital’s chapel; others selected outdoor places near holy shrines, or along their habitual walks for prayer and contemplation. For each person, faith was unique and expressed in a dramatically different way.
Accompanying Bielefeld’s photographs in On Faith
are audiotapes of interviews with her subjects along with the ambient sounds and ringing bells of churches.