Take These Words

Kaaba Wide copy.jpg

'Take These Words'

Artist:Basharat Khan

A video and sound installation documenting the Hajj pilgrimage in Sept 2016.

Viewing the scene from a heightened vantage point, the audience looks onto over 1.5 million people circling around the Kaaba in the city of Mecca. The installation follows the hypnotic movement and energy of pilgrims walking in anti-clockwise circles until reaching a point of complete stillness. The documentation is inherently performative and considering the vantage point, at times voyeuristic.

The installation is one take, a continuous shot, deliberately filmed in this way to emulate the natural rhythm and epic nature of movement and human density unique to the Hajj pilgrimage. The uninterrupted movement allows audiences to slowly adjust to the immense detail in what appears to be a subtle, repetitive scene.

Thematically, the work also exists to counter the xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric in mainstream media, not least in response to political events including Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America.

Imperative to challenging those narratives, this work serves as a reflective piece of work for diverse audiences to engage with new ways of seeing and understanding Islam.

In Nov 2016, the Israeli authorities attempted to ban the Adhan (call to prayer) in Jerusalem and in an act of solidarity the Christian church in the city of Nazareth sent out the Adhan from its own walls, protesting the Israeli restrictions on religious freedom.

 With this event as inspiration, the first screening of the work took place at the Caledonian Road Church in Gorbals, which willl be followed by additional screenings around Glasgow.

For many Muslims, one of the most meaningful aspects of the pilgrimage is the unifying experience of bringing together believers from all over the world to meet and worship together.

 In March 632 as the Hajj was decreed, Prophet Muhammed (Pbuh) quoted

‘an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action’.

 The aim of this piece of work is to bring people from all walks of life to experience and engage in a globally marginalized issue – countering the negative connotations associated with Islam and to create a space for discussion on the intersection of art and religion.


Caledonia Road Church- Gorbals

Video Installation at the Caledonian Road Church, Gorbals Dec 2016