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Prayer (Chicago) by James Webb brings people together at WAG

Sound installation features recordings of prayers from many faiths and languages

Winnipeg, Manitoba, December 6, 2019: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is hosting the Canadian debut of James Webb’s internationally acclaimed sound installation, Prayer (Chicago). The exhibition is now on view and runs until May 2020.

By deliberately gathering prayers from a variety of neighbourhoods and spiritual practices, the artist aims to join people together. The WAG is presenting the Chicago version of Prayer with the collaboration of many faiths, including Indigenous, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan.

About Prayer (Chicago):
● Prayer is an ongoing project, remade around the world since its first presentation in Webb’s home city of Cape Town in 2000, five years after his country ended its practice of apartheid.
● Until May 2020, the WAG welcomes the Chicago version of Prayer, the 10th and largest to date, as well as the first in North America. The work consists of recordings of prayer from individuals who belong to dozens of faiths and spiritual affinities.
● Visitors are invited to remove their footwear and walk the length of the carpet, composing their own arrangement of voices as they go, or to lower themselves next to a speaker to listen more closely to particular prayers.
● Prayers articulate a basic wish for communion and often serve to solidify a community of faith in a place of worship. Prayer (Chicago) invites us to come together and reflect in the midst of a Winnipeg winter.
● Prayer (Chicago) is made possible by the Artworkers Retirement Society. In-kind support has been provided by the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the Artist:

● James Webb (born Kimberley, South Africa, in 1975) is an artist whose work is framed in both large-scale installations in galleries and museums, and as unannounced interventions in public spaces.
● Webb’s practice employs a variety of media including audio, installation and text, referencing aspects of the conceptualist and minimalist traditions, as well as his academic studies in advertising, comparative religion, and theatre.

Artwork credit: James Webb. South African, born 1975. Prayer (Chicago), 2018. Multi-channel sound installation, Variable. Rennie Collection, Vancouver and the Art Institute of Chicago, Photography Purchase Fund; promised gift of Rennie Foundation. 2018.394.


“We are delighted to welcome Prayer (Chicago), on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Rennie Museum to Canada, and to Manitoba. In a time of many conflicts and divisions throughout the world, James Webb’s mesmerizing installation is bringing people together, and we are excited to share this work with Manitobans. ”
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery

Associated Links
Prayer (Chicago) – Winnipeg Art Gallery

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Amy Rebecca Harrison
Engagement Supervisor
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Amber O’Reilly
Engagement Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Opening in 2020, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit


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