Introducing “Symbols in Arts, Religion and Culture: The Soul of Nature,” a new book by Farrin Chwalkowski

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Faculty Writings | No Comments

Today’s post introduces Symbols in Arts, Religion and Culture: The Soul of Nature, a new book by architect, designer, and VCS faculty member Farrin Chwalkowski that was published early last month by Cambridge Scholars Press. The following description from the publisher’s website presents a brief description of the book, and you can find a substantial excerpt at this link.


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We are a product of nature. Every single cell of our body is made of, and depends, on nature. Our inner soul is heavily influenced by nature. We feel sad if the sun is not shining for a few days, and feel pleasure when drawn to the wonder of flowers and uplifted by the song of birds. We came from nature; we are part of nature. In short, we are nature. Nature has been an intimate part of the human experience from the earliest times. Different religions and cultures, from all corners of the world, have honoured and worshipped nature in art, ritual and literature in their own unique ways. This book shows how we learn about our own human nature, our own sense of identity and how we fit into the larger scheme of life and spirit when we come to better understand how our human ancestors, through art, symbol and myth, expressed their relationship with the natural world.

Farrin Chwalkowski, also known as Fatemeh Abbas zadeh, is currently teaching various art and design courses in New York and formerly at Rhode Island School of Design, USA She is a scholar and professor of art and design, as well as an architect. She first became interested in symbolism during her childhood, before going on to research religions, cultures and symbolism at Harvard. Her research focuses on how nature becomes art, and the meaning of symbols through different religions and cultures over time and geography.

Visual & Critical Studies