Fourteen hundred years in the past, the Prophet Muhammad made an eight-day journey often known as the Hijrah. Going through non secular persecution in his residence metropolis of Mecca, he led his followers on a 400km trek throughout the desert to Medina. That means the “migration” in Arabic, the occasion is taken into account a founding second of Islam, and marks the start line of the Islamic calendar.
Now, a significant exhibition on the King Abdulaziz Middle for World Tradition in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia—higher often known as the Ithra Museum—follows in Muhammad’s footsteps. It combines the most recent analysis into the precise route of the Hijrah with immersive audio-visual displays that may enable guests to expertise it for themselves.
“There’s by no means been an exhibition or a documentary or a movie in regards to the matter and it is troublesome to emphasize the significance of the story for Muslims around the globe,” says Idries Trevathan, the museum’s curator of Islamic artwork and tradition. “It is actually a foundational story for over a billion folks around the globe, so it was stunning to search out that nothing had been created earlier than.”
Hijrah: Within the Footsteps of the Prophet is constructed on the exhaustive analysis and fieldwork of Abdullah Hussein Alkadi, one of many world’s main authorities on the Hijrah. Alkadi has spent many years learning and travelling the precise route the prophet and his companions took throughout the desert, in addition to exploring the broader story, life and legacy of this journey. For the exhibition the movie director Ovidio Salazar travelled the route and filmed the panorama in unprecedented element utilizing drone images, near-infrared cameras and time-lapse images.
“Lots of people once they consider Saudi Arabia, they consider sand dunes,” Trevathan says. “Even Muslims once they consider the Hijrah journey, they may consider the desert you may discover right here within the Japanese Province. However truly the Hijrah route may be very mountainous and really rocky. It’s an extremely dramatic panorama, extremely numerous.”
The exhibition is organized in eight sections for every of the eight days of the journey. In addition to immersive audio-visual installations and movies, the exhibition explores the fabric tradition of pre-Islamic Mecca and Medina, by way of a variety of artefacts from Ithra’s personal assortment and borrowed from establishments together with the Nationwide Museum in Riyadh. These are complemented by new commissions from artists and craftspeople from all around the globe—together with India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Spain, the UK, the US, Turkey and Afghanistan.
“For instance now we have labored with Nuria Garcia, who’s a Spanish calligrapher, to create what’s referred to as a hilye, which is a calligraphic portrait of phrases of the prophet,” Trevathan says. “We even have a piece by Zahrah Al Ghamdi, which is a really modern piece the place she bought items of cloth, dipped them into earth and knotted them to create what resembles the roots of nice tree. She hyperlinks it to an idea of brotherhood, the place the Ansar, the folks of Medina, and the Muhajirun, the individuals who travelled from Mecca, got here collectively and created this new neighborhood.”
Positioned on Saudi Arabia’s jap coast, the Ithra Museum is operated by the state-owned oil and gasoline firm Saudi Aramco, and opened totally in 2018. Its shows discover the artwork, tradition and pure historical past of the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to internet hosting momentary exhibitions of worldwide artwork, together with Edvard Munch and Leonardo da Vinci.
That is the Ithra Museum’s first touring exhibition—will probably be proven at venues in Saudi Arabia for 3 years, earlier than travelling to venues round for the world for an extra two years. The itinerary continues to be being deliberate, however Trevathan hopes that it’ll go to majority Muslim nations comparable to Malaysia and Pakistan, in addition to Western nations.
“What we tried to do is handle the information gaps and inform the story as comprehensively as doable,” he says, “but additionally to indicate that it’s truly a common story—one thing that’s related for Muslims however for non-Muslims as nicely. It addresses common themes which I believe everybody can have interaction with—they embody migration, companionship and love.”
• Hijrah: Within the Footsteps of the Prophet, Ithra Museum, Dhahran, till 30 April 2023; Nationwide Museum, Riyadh, 30 June-30 November 2023; then touring