Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Laments and the Indy Spiritual Trail

Saturday May 18. At 9:00 am join pilgrimage maven Ian McIntosh for a walk along the Indianapolis Spiritual Trail to the Park of Laments.
Lamentation and the Indy Spiritual Trail

Saturday May 18, 9:00-10:30 am

Meet at the Indiana Interchurch Center Labyrinth
1100 W. 42nd St.

Join pilgrimage maven Ian McIntosh for a walk along the Indianapolis Spiritual Trail. The theme will be lamentation. We will take a leisurely walk to the Park of the Laments located in 100 Acres. This is a place for lamentation and purging the global atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The Spiritual Trail in Indianapolis is open throughout the year for self-guided walks, or guided walk-and-talks. These journeys of meditation, awareness, and personal growth in the great outdoors are open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome! 

The goal is to provide opportunities to share and reflect on spiritual and special narratives through these walks, short and long. The trail begins at the Indiana Interchurch Center, where pilgrims have the chance to walk the Jerusalem labyrinth and then the trail continues along the Canal Towpath by the White River, and ends at the Holcomb Gardens. Participants are encouraged to share their personal reflections as pilgrims, experiences of the sacred, and any meaningful narratives that promote an atmosphere of appreciation, acknowledgement, and greater understanding of our collective experiences.

Chilean-born artist Alfredo Jaar designed the Park of Laments, a “public intervention” located in the Virginia B Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, a 100 acre sculpture preserve adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Park of the Laments acts as an isolated contemplation space to reflect on the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries and find healing in the natural beauty of the interior space.

The Park of the Laments is surrounded by gabion rock walls to separate the inner space from the rest of the park. The inner space is accessed through a concrete tunnel carved into the site’s topography that acts to spatially compress the visitor with ominous feeling. Literal light at the end of the tunnel directs the visitor to the bottom of a stepwell, where a stair leads visitors to the phenomenological release of the large square inner park space. Wooden benches surround the stepwell affording visitors a seat to reflect in the visually and acoustically quiet space.

The project has impacted the community by allowing visitors to feel removed from the world while simultaneously engaging with it. “By creating a park within a park and employing breathing, living borders made of nature, Park of the Laments tightened the ambiguous but essential link between the self and the collective, removal and involvement, contemplation and action,” says Jaar.

The project is a space for silence and meditation in a world where opportunities to pause and reflect in the public sphere are becoming scarce—and where people often find themselves retreating into the private realm to seek peace and healing. This, says Jaar, “has created dangerous correlations in contemporary society, assimilating private with peace, and public with chaos.”

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