One faith: Mario Bejagan Cardenas’ photo captures Chinese Muslims together in prayer before iftar at the Niujie Mosque in Beijing.
The morning sky is speckled with amber-tinged clouds, signalling the rise of the sun. There is a serene grandeur in it all, as if gazing at heaven itself.
Set against this ethereal backdrop is the famous Malacca Straits Mosque, built on a man-made island. The sanctuary itself is an architectural marvel, an elegant blend of Middle Eastern and traditional Malay craftsmanship. When the sea level rises, it gives the illusion of a floating mosque.
The uniquely framed photograph by Malaysian photographer Mohd Syafiq Sha’rani divides the photo into three spaces: the sky, the mosque and the rocky coastline of Malacca.
This photograph is one of the 66 exhibits in the The Holy Month Of Ramadan: A Visual Celebration – Capture The Spirit Of Ramadan exhibition at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) in Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition, which features stunning works by photographers from around the world, will be on at IAMM’s Open Space Gallery until Aug 31.
The exhibited photographs are the best of international design firm StudioBasel’s annual “Capture the Spirit of Ramadan” International Ramadan Photography Competition (IRPC). Featuring winning photographs from 2011 to 2015, this is the second time the travelling exhibition has visited Malaysia. The last one was in 2014.
The exhibition gives the audience here a chance to view the global beauty of Islam through its art, architecture and cultural diversity.
Imane Tirich would be a photographer to investigate, the young Moroccan who came in third for the 2012 IRPC and received the regional award for the 2012 Unicef Media “Young Reporter” for the MENA Region.
Mahmoud Illean, a Palestinian photo-journalist, is another participating photographer. He won the 2011 International Photography Award organised by the EU-funded Euromed Heritage programme and the RehabiMed Association. He is also an Associated Press photographer.
Mahmoud’s photo shows a Palestinian Christian holding a hand drum, preparing to wake his Muslim neighbours up for sahur. It is a simple picture and it is in its simplicity the power of the picture lies. The range of themes are diverse.
Some are purely socio-economic depictions of people. One such photograph is that of the famous floating vegetable market of Dal Lake, Srinagar (he summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir in India) by Maqsood Bhat. There is an interesting juxtaposition of serenity and chaos in the picture.
The boats with merchants selling vegetables reminds one of a really bad traffic jam. However, the trees and a hilltop at the background and the river itself bring a certain calmness.
The gallery has also published a catalogue featuring over 300 outstanding photographs including winners of the IRPC since its inception in 2011.
The CIMB Junior Photography Competition (July 1 till Aug 9) and the photography masterclass by Saiful Nang (July 28) are the activities tied to this exhibition.
The Holy Month Of Ramadan: A Visual Celebration – Capture The Spirit Of Ramadan is on at Open Space Gallery, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Jalan Lembah Perdana in Kuala Lumpur until Aug 31. For more information, visit www.iamm.org.my. Opening hours: 10am to 6pm daily.