EXPLORING THE ACT OF ISLAMIC PRAYER IN BRITISH SECULAR SOCIETY
An immersive theatrical experience by artist Mohammed Ali that explores the act of Islamic prayer and what that means in a modern, secular society.
As the daily distractions of modern society consume us, many of us seek that elusive ‘flow state’ or ‘being in the zone’ whether it be through yoga, sports, the arts or worship.
The physical act of prayer now extends beyond religious spaces to places such as parks and city-squares; it spills over into our everyday worlds. It is even visible in sports arenas with athletes prostrating to the ground or raising hands to the sky in moments of triumph. Can we draw parallels between an act of personal faith and our quest to achieve a higher state of focus, or is it one and the same?
The audience is invited to walk through a combination of live performance, art installation and projected film zones that disrupt the conventions of theatre, placing them at the very heart of the story. A replica of the famous Birmingham Qur’an, considered to be one of the world’s oldest, will be integrated into the show.
Mohammed Ali together with his Soul City Arts team aim to demystify this familiar yet misunderstood tradition of Islamic prayer through an extraordinary multi-disciplinary show that will challenge our perceptions.
Mohammed Ali is an award-winning street-artist who has travelled the world with his murals, performances and installations from New York to Bangladesh. He now brings his biggest production to-date to his home city of Birmingham. He is the founder and artistic director of Soul City Arts.
Waswasa brings together a visual art experience together with projected film and live performance into the Birmingham Hippodrome to tell a unique story about prayer and worship in a secular society.
There are three key components of the show:
Waswasa is an intimate show with each performance accommodating for 50 people at a time. Tickets are expected to booked fast. They will be on sale from April 2022 from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.
“How does the nation perceive the act of Islamic prayer? It’s something I’ve been wanting to explore for some time… the physical and often very visible, public form of worship. It’s polarised society and created divides we know exist but don’t wish to speak of, whether it’s in the playground, in the gym or the workplace. This is, by far, the biggest show I’ll have done to-date. This one is serious.”
This short film entitled ‘The Call’ was created in the development of Waswasa. The film captures an open and very public expression of faith as a young man calls the ‘Azhan’ (call for prayer) across Birmingham city centre.
“At Soul City Arts, we don’t shy away from exploring themes that often get sidelined. We recognise the need to deal with the very issues that polarise our society. Nobody else is going to do that work for us, so we have to step up.”
“I’ve been collaborating with Soul City Arts for some years now. There isn’t many organisations that deal with faith so boldly as they do.”