I bought this print last month at the British Museum’s exhibition, Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam. It depicts Saudi artist Ahmed Mater al-Ziad’s installation “Magnetism”.
I wrote a blog post a few months back about circling around the Kaaba. Mater’s piece very simply and beautifully depicts the emotions experienced by myself and millions of other Muslims to travel to Mecca each year for hajj or umrah. The following, very-compelling description accompanied his installation:
“‘When my grandfathers spoke to me as a child about their experience of Hajj, they told me of the physical attraction they felt towards the Kaa’ba, that they felt drawn to it by an almost magnetic pull.’
In the installation, Mater has evoked that feeling by using tens of thousands of iron filings placed within the magnetic fields of two magnets, only the upper one of which is visible. For Mater, Magnetism also conveys one of the essential elements of Hajj: that all Muslims are considered the same in the eyes of God whether rich, poor, young or old. As such, the iron filings represent a unified body of pilgrims, all of whom are similarly attracted to the Kaa’ba as the centre of the world.”