I am Maryam Al-Khaldi, a multidisciplinary Qatari artist. My art reflects a contemporary take on Qatari traditions and its heritage. In my art practice, I like to dabble with non-traditional art materials, archives, oral histories, and create works that present a new perspective on issues surrounding culture, religion and identity. My work is often interactive, and engages the audience in ways that provoke questions and points of discussion in their minds.
My focus for this installation is the relationship between culture and religion and their influence on societies particularly in the Gulf. It aims at promoting the Islamic culture and preserving the heritage through different ways. I wanted to spot the light on Al-Tahmidah which is a term that means the sealing of the entire Holy Qur'an.
I used different techniques and mixed media to convey my ideas to the viewers. The prayer carpets in my installation symbolizes religion and prayer. I interlaced the carpets as a representation of Muslims' prayer unity. Alongside the carpets, I used 30 Quran holders (where a Quran is usually placed during reading or studying) to symbolize 30 parts of the Quran that the students had to memorize for a ceremony to be held. I also attached lights on to the Quran holders to show that this journey helps enlighten the path to happiness and self-relief. Furthermore, I used sand to represent the classroom environment where children learned the Quran with the help of their instructor (Al-Mutawa). Using the carpets as a “screen” I have also created a video presentation to project on to the carpets, the video contains clips of children memorizing the holy Quran by heart and chanting Al Tahmida (a prayer for God to thank him for helping and fulfilling the journey of reading and memorizing the Quran) This enables the viewers to experience the ceremony.