Damascene Athan, 7
Arts of the Islamic World
Mixed media, plaster, pigment, found objects, audio recording
34 × 24 × 8 in. (86.4 × 61.0 × 20.3 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of the Barjeel Art Foundation
Mohamad Hafez (Syrian, born 1984). Damascene Athan, 7, 2017. Mixed media, plaster, pigment, found objects, audio recording, 34 × 24 × 8 in. (86.4 × 61.0 × 20.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Barjeel Art Foundation, 2018.40a-b (Photo: , 2018.40a-b_view01.jpg)
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The Damascene Athan #7 by Mohamad Hafez is a contemporary art work that makes an excellent visual, audio, and conceptual link to Syria and the civil war that started in 2011.The Damascene Athan is part of a 12-piece series carrying the same title which derives from the daily call of prayers coming from the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, one of the iconic early mosques dating to 706 CE. Although each piece in the series is quite different, they are all arranged as similar sized decorative mirror frames. Within each frame a different vignette of city life in Damascus is reflected through the protruding ensemble of various small repurposed items made to look like the architectural details of the city.This piece, numbered 7 in the series, shows a building façade with two doors, one placed inside an historical arch. A Toyota truck representing those used by the Syrian secret service is parked outside. A surveillance camera protruding from the building draws attention to the life of fear and stress lived daily by the civilians on the eve of the Syrian civil war. The piece also includes an audio recording captured by the artist during his last visit to the city in 2011. In the audio, the call of prayer from the Great Umayyad Mosque as well as children playing in the streets and people including the artist talking in Arabic in a café can be heard. Overall it is a contemplative piece reflecting the physical, historical, and political complexities of Syria.
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