Two years ago, Flushing artist and educator Gina Minielli set out to photograph what she calls “the most concentrated area of religious diversity in the country — if not the world,” reports QNS’ Suzanne Monteverdi. So far, she has taken photos of 12 houses of worship in her neighborhood, out of the 200 or so she says exist.
Minielli grew up near Bowne Park, named after John Bowne, an English immigrant and Quaker who lived in the then-Dutch colony. Monteverdi writes:
Facing government policies that restricted his right to freely practice his religion, Bowne was arrested for holding a Quaker meeting in his house and was one of 30 people who signed the Flushing Remonstrance — a petition for religious liberty.
“That was the seed for religious freedom in the United States,” Minielli said. With this knowledge, Minielli titled her photo series “Bound by Bowne.”
“I really do feel like we are all bound by what what happened 300 years ago,” Minelli added. “Flushing is a beacon for people to come to: especially immigrants. There is a reason why so many religious groups come to this area, and I really feel like John Bowne is one of the reasons why.”
Is Minielli welcomed at the houses of worship she visits? How difficult is it to gain access? Will she expand the project other boroughs? Find out at QNS, where you can see more photos from the series.
Also check out a photo essay of the many houses of worship in Queens by Carlos Rodríguez Martorell and Gwynne Hogan for Voices of NY.