Posted on July 03, 2013

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Qatar’s flagship museum and one of the world’s leading Islamic Art museums, announces its forthcoming exhibition Hajj-The Journey Through Art in MIA’s special exhibition gallery, to be shown alongside an outdoor photography exhibition. The exhibition takes place in collaboration with the British Museum, London, and is based on the concept and exhibition of Hajj - Journey to the heart of Islam, which was held at the British Museum in 2012.

Hajj- The Journey Through Art is the first exhibition of its kind to be held in a Muslim country, celebrating and illuminating the pilgrimage through art and artifact. Although the concept of the exhibition is based on the British Museum’s earlier showcase, it is unique in that 90% of the objects to be exhibited are from Qatari collections.

The MIA exhibition hopes to highlight,through art,one of the five pillars of Islam – Hajj. It explores the history of this journey over the centuries, bringing together a rich and varied collection that focuses on three main themes: the routes taken by pilgrims (with a special section on the oral histories and objects of Qatari pilgrims), the rituals of Hajj as depicted through art, and the experience of the pilgrims after completion of Hajj, including gifts and souvenirs brought back from Mecca.

In keeping with the exhibition’s local theme, MIA is asking the residents of Qatar, whether nationals or expats, to contribute their own souvenirs, gifts or objects related to Hajj. By lending the museum their Hajj memorabilia, local communities will effectively be sharing their own experiences of the journey and offering a Qatari perspective.

Brass Qibla Indicator, Safavid, Iran (Isfahan), late 17th century, signed 'Abd al-A'imma

The holy pilgrimage of Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and considered a rite required of all Muslims who are physically and financially able. The pilgrimage holds special significance to Muslims across the globe and attracts pilgrims in their millions every year.

Curated by Dr. Mounia Chekhab-Abudaya (MIA Curator of Manuscripts) in association with Dr. Cécile Bresc (MIA Curator of Coins), Hajj -The Journey Through Art, a part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture,takes the visitor on an exciting exploration of Hajj through the art collections of Qatar, including a number of significant public and private collections, many of which have never before been displayed.

A photography exhibition running parallel to the main exhibition will feature the works of five international photographers: Peter Sanders (Britain), Reem al-Faisal (Saudi Arabia), Kayuzoshi Nomachi (Japan), Juliette Sawyers (Australia) and Khalifa Al-Obaidly (Qatar) all of whom offer unique visions of Hajj through their own experiences of the pilgrimage as Muslims.

Hajj -The Journey Through Art will be supported by a full educational programme that will include calligraphy, embroidery and painting workshops for children and families, as well as public lectures from scholars and several contemporary artists whose works are featured in the exhibition.

Published as an album, the catalogue of the exhibition will focus on Qatari collections and the three themes of the exhibition.

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