A Birmingham artist is preparing a spiritual show to be unveiled at the Hippodrome as part of the Birmingham Festival 2022.
Award-winning artist Mohammed Ali, from Sparkbrook, is gearing up for what he hopes will be a memorable theatrical experience that will educate, inspire and unite Birmingham’s diverse communities.
Waswasa – Whispers in Prayer is an intimate and immersive theatrical experience by artist Mohammed Ali that explores the Islamic act of prayer and what it means in a secular society where Muslims are often marginalized and viewed with suspicion and fear – and even hostility and violence – as Islamophobic hate crimes continue to rise across the country.
The physical act of prayer now extends beyond mosques to places such as parks and other public spaces such as public squares, and the sight of a Muslim engaged in devotion is now part of daily life.
In the world of popular sports such as football or boxing, the public is now accustomed to seeing Muslim athletes bow down to the ground or raise their palms to the sky in a sign of supplication during moments of triumph.
Ali, who has hosted numerous events and shows – including the highly acclaimed Knights of the Raj exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – said this new exhibition on Islamic prayer is close to his heart: “How the nation perceives the act of Islamic prayer? This is something I have wanted to explore for some time.
“The physical and often highly visible form of public worship. It’s a polarized society and created divisions that we know exist but don’t want to talk about, whether on the playground, in the gym or at work.
“This is, by far, the greatest show I’ve done to date. This one is serious.
Audiences attending the special show at the Hippodrome will be invited to walk through a combination of live performances, art installations and film screening areas that disrupt theater conventions, placing them at the very heart of the spiritual journey.
Artist and event organizer Ali aims to demystify the familiar, yet largely misunderstood, tradition of Islamic prayer through an extraordinary, multi-faceted spectacle that will challenge public perceptions.
Ali hopes this unique theatrical experience will provide insight for non-Muslims and break down any stereotypes or prejudices surrounding the Islamic act of prayer and allow people to focus on the act of prayer itself and reach an understanding. deeper and more philosophical process that will inspire love and unity.
The show will use delicate sound and lighting, recitation, calligraphy and music to open the minds of the audience to the soothing art of Islamic prayer.
The Arabic word Waswasa is the concept of distractions that can invade the mind of a devotee while praying.
Ali believes that in the modern world, distractions to the human mind come in many shapes and forms, including electronic devices, which keep humans continually “wired and charged” at all times, reducing the elements of inner peace and serenity.
This constant state of being “connected” to other mediums and hemispheres has the potential to usher in mental and social health issues and cause upheavals that are detrimental to an individual’s tranquility and balance.
The special exhibition will also feature a replica of the famous Birmingham Quran manuscript, believed to be one of the oldest manuscripts in existence.
The Waswasa show will open at the Hippodrome on Thursday August 25 and will last for a week, with audiences having the option to select which part of the show they wish to sample.
The theatrical experience will also include an installation of newly decorated Islamic prayer rugs by the local community – including refugees from various parts of the world – which were painted in workshops held at a new creative space in Sparkbrook.
Speaking about the new art space, Ali said, “While the new space we created aesthetically resembles a shisha bar or even a nightclub, social awareness and spirituality are at the core with even a prayer space. among the neon lights.
“Something alternative is needed amidst the urban chaos of the cities we live in.
“We first experienced such a space 12 years ago – a ramshackle space in Birmingham city center transformed into a creative oasis. We now come back with a much larger storage space.
“I have long searched for the right space in Sparkbrook, as it is where I was born and where my late parents settled in the 1960s as immigrants. Honoring their legacy and continuing the fight to build spaces to come together and grow strong.
Prior to the Waswasa show at the Hippodrome, Ali is also hosting a special gathering at the new Sparkbrook Arts Base on Thursday, June 30 at 6 p.m.
Ali shared some details about next week’s event: “I’m really excited to get together with people again after such testing times.
“As you may know, Soul City Arts is an organization that I lead, and we are delighted to have been commissioned by Birmingham 2022 Festival to present a major show called ‘Waswasa’.
“We recently took over a large warehouse and became our creative base for producing this show as well as delivering regular community events.
“I wanted our space to be placed in the heart of the community, away from the typical places where we expect to find artistic spaces.
“I searched long and hard to find an integrated base in Sparkbrook, as it is where I was born and where my family first settled in the 1960s, as well as being the historic headquarters of the organization in previous years.
“I’m thrilled to be back in the community with a 4,000 square foot space that we’ve transformed from an industrial unit into a creative oasis. This is an opportunity for us to network and reconnect with others over soft drinks and light snacks provided by our friends at Raja Monkey Cafe.
“I will be sharing more about the ‘Waswasa’ project – a show taking place at the Hippodrome, which aims to explore the concept of Islamic prayer in modern Britain.
“I will also be sharing some of our broader visions and inviting guests to speak from community members to our city leaders. ”
Ali also added that Sparkbrook’s arts base — which hosts weekly workshops, events and community sessions — is open to everyone, regardless of race, age, gender or religion.
He said: “Our weekly Waswasa build events showcased a cross section of Birmingham communities.
“We had young and old, Muslims and non-Muslims, religious and non-religious, scholars and students, counselors and refugees. All gathered in our new warehouse space to discover art, chat, dine together and share thoughts and prayers.
At a time when there are so many divisions in society, with scrutiny from foreigners and ethnic minorities, it is quite refreshing to see art, music and theater being used to heal and unite communities. Ali’s art space in Sparkbrook and the Waswasa project seem to have the perfect ingredients to bring people together under the united banner of a shared humanity where people can converse freely and safely.
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https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/2022/06/25/birmingham-artists-hippodrome-show-highlight-spirituality-love-unity/https://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Ali-copy-800×463.jpghttps://www.iambirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Ali-copy-300×174.jpgArtsCommonwealth Games 2022CommunityEventsFaithMusicmuslim birminghamNewShowbizUnclassifiedWhat’s newAerosol Ali,Arabic Aerosol,Arabic,Art,B’ham,Bangladesh,Birmingham,Birmingham 2022,Birmingham Racecourse,Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery,Birmingham Qu’ran,Brum,calligraphy,City,Commonwealth Games,community,Digbeth,Diversity ,England,Entertainment,Ethnic Minorities,Events,Exhibition,Festival,Graffiti,Hate Crime,Hippodrome,I am Bham,I am Birmingham,Immigrants,Islam,Islamophobia,Knights of the Raj,Quran,Malcolm X,Midlands,Migrants,Mohammed’ Aerosol’ Ali, Mohammed Ali, Mosque, music, painting, prayer, prayers, prejudices, Quran, racism, Rangzeb Hussain, refugees, shows, Soul City Arts, Sparkbrook, Street Art, street artist, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Waswasa Waswasa,Theatre, – Whispers in Prayer, West MidlandsA Birmingham artist is preparing a spiritual performance to be unveiled at the Hippodrome as part of the 2022 Birmingham Festival. Award-winning artist Mohammed Ali, from Sparkbrook, is preparing for what he hopes will be a memorable theatrical experience that will educate, will inspire and unite…Rangzeb HussainRankzeb
Hussain[email protected]AuthorI Am Birmingham