Nomadic Mosque
Azra Aksamija
Bauhaus Museum Dessau, Black Box
On view March 30, 2023 – January 7,2024
Series: Intermezzi

We are thrilled to announce the solo exhibition by the ACT Director, Azra Aksamija, titled Nomadic Mosque at the Bauhaus Dessau, Germany. This dynamic show is nestled within the “Intermezzi” series, enriching the permanent collection exhibition. These displays, located within the Black Box of Bauhaus Museum Dessau, transcend traditional exhibitions, extending the boundaries of the collection and reflecting the spirit of Bauhaus innovation.

At the heart of the “Intermezzi” series lies Azra Aksamija’s Nomadic Mosque. Drawing from her 2005 project, this exhibit redefines our understanding of mosque spaces. Nomadic Mosque engages with faith, design, and the human body, reimagining traditional mosque forms for contemporary contexts. The project draws inspiration from the concept of the world as a mosque, transforming it into portable architecture. This Nomadic Mosque adapts to individual spiritual needs, creating sanctuaries that foster communal connections.

Through her work, Aksamija reshapes our perception of religious spaces and their interaction with the human body. Blending architectural history with contemporary design, she bridges cultural divides, encouraging an appreciation for diverse expressions of faith and culture.

Central to Aksamija’s exhibition is an exploration of subject positions molded by societal currents. In a world marked by intersecting cultures and identity anxieties, Aksamija’s work delves into “otherness” and marginalization, challenging portrayals of Islam. Her art amplifies voices and narratives often overlooked.

The exhibition also includes Aksamija’s artist book, Mosque Manifesto: Propositions for Spaces of Coexistence (2015). This book-art hybrid offers a new theory of the mosque, shifting its definition from stylistic confines to conceptual parameters. The manifesto envisions mosques as transient, performative spaces, exploring a new aesthetic of cohabitation rooted in transculturalism.

At the heart of Mosque Manifesto is a secular vein that critically reexamines the architecture of diasporic communities, offering a lens to view public spaces and fostering critical discourse. Aksamija seamlessly integrates her methods of critical design into public intervention. Echoes of artists like Lucy Orta, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Meschac Gaba, and Yinka Shonibare MBE resonate in her work, casting a multidimensional exploration of identity, colonial legacies, and globalization.

Inspired by interventionist art and interrogative design, Aksamija’s Nomadic Mosque delves into critical design as an aesthetic strategy for public interventions. The exhibit becomes a conduit for “fearless speech,” challenging established narratives and inspiring conversations.

In a visually striking convergence of art and discourse, Nomadic Mosque underscores the intricate ties between architecture, space, and identity. It invites contemplation on nomadism, migration, and the manifestations of social alienation. As the exhibition unfolds within the Bauhaus Dessau collection, visitors embark on a journey of introspection and exploration, witnessing the union of art and critical discourse in a most captivating form.