“Equal Parts” | 2019
Eid-ul-Adha at Tate Britain
I am not just approaching an under researched field in regard to British art museums and religion and secularism, but in fact looking at these spaces as organizations and institutions beyond how it frames art, but how it thinks about audiences, staff and other functional aspects as well as how it frames its collections and acquisitions. Just like at all levels, our museums, particularly art institutions, across the world, need wider experiences to be part of it at every level, and research is no different – too much has been limited by the tunnel vision of respecting art history and the institutions that hold its authority over other disciplines and trajectories of navigating these spaces.
For this featured FSA Inspiration, we highlight Hassan Vawda, a Doctoral Researcher at Tate and Goldsmiths University, whose work delves into the subjects of belief, faith and religion (particularly Islam), and the role of secularism within the UK art museums.
Vawda’s work sits between the overlap of the arts and culture of diverse Muslim communities’ local and grassroots organizational practices with that of mainstream museum initiatives.
Vawda’s work sits between the overlap of the arts and culture of diverse Muslim communities’ local and grassroots organizational practices with that of mainstream museum initiatives. In 2017, he was awarded an Aziz Foundation scholarship through which he initiated the development of an on-going research to initiate more connectivity between the Muslim communities and the museum and cultural sector.
One such aspect of his research was shared with the public through a program entitled “Equal Parts” in 2019, which engaged two local mosques, their Imams, and boards to co-curate an event at Tate Britain in London. Several interventions were held, one of which was in conjunction with the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) throughout the museum’s grounds. Eid-ul-Adha, the second of two great Muslim festivals (the other being Eid al-Fitr), marks the end of the Hajj and is celebrated by Muslims across the world. The day-long program included the Imams conducting communal prayers, feasts, and Islamic Heritage celebrations throughout the Tate Gallery. Vawda co-curated “Equal Parts” in collaboration with Abdul Elias in partnership with Al Nagashi Centre, VICEC, Halal Tourism Britain, and Ramadan Tent Project.
Read a full interview below with Hassan Vawda regarding his research queries published by Bayt Al Fann – an organization that focuses on artists, creatives, and communities whose work encapsulates the future of art inspired by Islamic tradition.