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Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH)
About the Hijrah exhibition
Ithra is launching Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet, an exhibition based on The Prophet’s 8-day 400km journey (‘Hijrah’, meaning ‘migration’) from Mecca to Medina. The exhibition will trace this journey in physical terms and probe its global socio-political and cultural significance through a multidisciplinary immersive display. The exhibit opens at Ithra’s Great Hall for nine months before travelling across Saudi Arabia during its 3-year run, beginning with The National Museum in Riyadh from April 2023.
The Hijrah exhibition supports Ithra’s wider mission to provide a platform for cross-cultural exchange, knowledge sharing, and nurturing and promoting talent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Curated by Ithra’s in-house team the exhibition is presented in partnership with key regional and international organizations, leading scholars and artists who will provide specially commissioned works.
Who are the partner organizations?
● The Prince of Wales’ Turquoise Mountain, a HRH charity supporting arts & heritage in the Middle East
● The National Museum of Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh
● The House of Islamic Arts, in Jeddah
● The King Abdulaziz Complex for Endowment Libraries
What is their involvement in the exhibition?
The institutional partners will lend Ithra Museum a range of historical artefacts to trace the history of The Prophet’s Hijrah.
Who are the academic contributors?
● Abdullah Hussein Alkadi, author of Makkah to Medina: A Photographic Journey of the Hijrah Route and Milestones of Arabia. Professor Alkadi has been praised internationally for his groundbreaking research on the various travel routes used by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his Companions.
● Hamza Yusuf Hanson, President of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States, and Co-president of the Religions for Peace coalition.
● Thalia Kennedy, Creative Director of the HRH The Prince of Wales’ conservation body Turquoise Mountain and advisor to The Royal Institute for Traditional Arts in Riyadh, focused on the preservation of traditional heritage and practice.
● Daoud Stephen Casewit, an independent Islamic scholar, writer, translator and lecturer.
Who are the commissioned artists and Ithra curatorial team?
● Nasser Al Salem, internationally renowned Saudi artist whose work champions the versatility and adaptability of traditional Islamic calligraphy through its presentation in new contexts and media. His work features in major international collections including at the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Ithra in Dhahran.
● Younès Rahmoun, Moroccan artist widely considered one of the most important contemporary artists working in North Africa today, Rahmoun’s work explores Islamic culture and spirituality
● Zahrah Al Ghamdi, leading Saudi artist who has exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the British Museum. Her large-scale works use natural materials such as earth, clay, rocks, leather and water, to resist the confines of the gallery space and explore ephemeral structures set within vast landscapes.
● Ovidio Salazar, award-winning director with over 40 years of experience in filmmaking. For several years he documented the Expansion of the Two Holy Mosques Project in Makkah and Madinah, before becoming Series Producer on the ‘Faces of Islam’ Series for the BBC. He has directed several films on the Hajj including segments of the IMAX production, ‘Journey to Mecca – In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta’, Hajj – Journey of a Lifetime BBC, and Circling the House of God.
● Ebrahim Hajee, director of photography and documentary filmmaker based in Cape Town with 22 years’ experience in the film industry working on projects addressing anti-poaching initiatives, female empowerment and illegal gold mining.
● Peter Sanders, British photographer with over 55 years’ experience capturing the Arab world on film through images that reflect its rich traditions, warmth, humanity and compassion.
● Ayesha Amjad, a self-taught artist whose work explores the concept of journeys using visual inspiration from medieval Islamic maps.
● Maher Darwish, master carpenter specialized in intricate joinery and creative design solutions.
● Mohammed Siddique Bhati, master stone carver and lead artisan at Saray Design, whose projects include the inlaid columns at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, and the world’s longest monumental calligraphic marble panels.
● Plaster Collective, Saudi Arabia, a collective of women artisans in Jeddah producing plaster artwork hand-carved with geometric patterns that reference the traditional buildings of the old city.
● Maryam Omar, British Afghan artist and designer and Head of Design at the Turquoise Mountain Institute of Afghan Arts & Architecture in Kabul. Omar works alongside carpet weaving communities in Afghanistan, and applies the Hijrah as a guiding principle in her artistic practice.
● Calligraphers: Nuria Garcia Masip, Uthman Taha, prominent Arabic calligrapher who wrote the Mushaf Al-Madinah, one of the most recognized copies of the Holy Qur’an and the most widely distributed throughout the Islamic world, Hind Alghamdi, Nassar Mansour.
● Ashraf Ehsan Fagih, PhD, Head of the Programs Division at Ithra, Aramco's flagship cultural initiative.
● Kumail Muhammed Almusaly, the Curator of traveling exhibitions and the Great Hall at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
● Idries Trevathan is the Curator of Islamic Art and Culture at the king Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)
What will be on display at the exhibition?
A range of historical artefacts on loan from partner organizations will feature alongside new commissions across a range of mediums - including artworks, film, theater and calligraphy - as well as immersive technologies.