Event Review: 11 Mosque Exhibition
What: 11 Mosque Official Exhibition
Where: National Library Building, Basement 1
When: 14 – 25 July 2013[/box_dark]
In conjunction with the month of Ramadan, design collective Visual Inconsideration is holding the exhibition 11 Mosque, running from 14 – 25 July 2013 at Basement 1 of the National Library, Singapore. A showcase of the works of 12 artists across various mediums and disciplines from graffiti to photography to embroidery, 11 Mosque depicts mosques across Singapore through the eyes of their respective artists.
Established in 2010, Visual Inconsideration had previously been responsible for the book Petua, a collaborative effort with literary community The Heartthrob Project which showcased grandmothers’ tales and superstitions unique to the region. 11 Mosque was part of an ongoing effort to highlight the traditional festive seasons of Singapore, having previously released hongbaos and green packets in conjunction with Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri respectively, and greeting cards for Christmas.
Haziq Muhammad and Farhana Jaafar, two members of Visual Inconsideration whose works were also on display, explained that while their collective took on commissioned work, they also wanted to pursue personal projects. Visual Inconsideration was born of this desire to find a balance between art and commerce, and exhibitions like 11 Mosque were intended to bring the work of up-and-coming local artists from different backgrounds to a wider audience.
They elaborated that they did not approach 11 Mosque from a strictly religious angle as the artists were themselves from secular backgrounds, with two of the artists in fact being non-Muslims. Haziq and Farhana said that they were in talks to display the artworks elsewhere after 25th July, and were also looking at producing more work based on Malay tradition but updated with modern sensibilities.
At the opening of the exhibition on 14 July 2013, visitors were treated to a guided tour of the works on display, with several of the artists on hand to explain their works. Many of the pieces went beyond mere representations of the mosque in question. The humble Abdul Aleem Siddique Mosque is reimagined as a towering 3 storey beacon in the piece ‘Lighthouse’ by ASFA, and Al-Khair Mosque inspires the work ‘An Untitled Feeling to Reach’ by artist Izziyana Suhaimi, presenting the spirituality of being in a mosque with an abstract work of embroidery. ‘Debu’ by Farhana, based on Alkaff Mosque Upper Serangoon, intriguingly features a sculpture of a hand reaching across a surface. It depicts the process of tayammum, or ritual purification through dust which the artist explained she first learned about during her lessons at this mosque.
Neither words nor photographs can really do justice to the artworks, so I would suggest you make your way down to the National Library and check it out for yourself.
Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah
Ahmad Zhaki holds a degree in English Literature from the University of London. He is a full-time executive at a local research institute and a part-time writer.