Artworks by three alumni from VCUarts Qatar are part of the exhibition titled 'Road to Makkah', at Eiwan Al Gassar Gallery at the St. Regis hotel. The exhibition will run until September 10, 2022.
Thirty artists from 12 countries – Qatar, Saudi, Bahrain, Oman, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom – are participating in the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Bachir Mohammad.
Faheem Khan (BFA in Graphic Design, Class of 2019, and MFA in Design, Class of 2022); Othman M. Khunji (MFA in Design, Class of 2015); and Noof Al-Naama (BFA in Interior Design, Class of 2022) are the three alumni participating in the presentation.
Faheem Khan's art installation is titled 'Less Water, More Holy: Tools for Sustainable Ablution'. The artworks are part of his MFA in Design thesis. Khan says he feels "a moral obligation to use his gifts and talent as a designer to help Muslims follow our Prophet's sunnah, after all as believers of Islam, that is our goal."
He explains further, "Muslims pray five times a day, and before each prayer, they first clean themselves by performing ritual ablution (wudu). To visualize and better understand the nature of performing wudu with just one mudd (650 ml) of water, my thesis included a two-part research investigation. The first part proposed eight individual artifacts designed to show how little water is needed for each step of the process of wudu. Next, lessons extracted from this analytical phase informed a series of contemporary artifacts designed to guide users toward a more reflective and sustainable spiritual practiceﷺ."
Visitors can view eight individual artworks by Othman M. Khunji as well. The titles of the artwork are, 'La wa illa', 'Perpetual Affirmation', 'Iqra', 'Religious Authority', Religious Vanity (three parts), and 'Mecca Modified'. Khunji has used various media, such as 3D sculptures, and scanned prints to explore the relationship between man and God.
His latest artwork is titled Iqra, a 3D-printed sculpture in a male form formed from verses from Surat Al Alaq which have been the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad in Mecca at cave Hira.
"The surat stresses the importance of focus on the righteous path and furthering one's education," he says. "This sculpture acts as a spiritual, conceptual compass, indicating where the center of Islamic devotion is aimed at: the Kaaba in Mecca. Another example is 'Religious Vanity' a 3D scanned and printed artwork that contrasts the concept of man, and machine-made imperfect constructions, with God's perfect creations. Portraying in size, color, and reflection, the replacement of one's love and devotion to Allah, by one's love centered on the self, these pieces showcase the derived relationship between a Muslim's vanity and the divine."
Noof Al-Naama is presenting an artwork titled ‘Tawaf’. "‘Tawaf’ illustrates instances of people encircling the Holy Ka'abah, a ritual performed by Muslims upon visiting Mecca,” she says.
Faheem Khan with his works at the exhibition
Othman Khunji with two of his works at the exhibition
Noof Al-Naama standing in front of her work at the exhibition
One of Othman's works at the exhibition