Taraneh Hemami -
Taraneh Hemami -

Reverberations of Stone uses the most essential elements of a mehrab, a devotional niche that marks the direction of prayer in a mosque, to mark the wall of the Qibleh at St. Ignatius church in San Francisco. The installation is an experiment with collapsing spaces and overlapping systems of belief, creating a temporary coexistence, a temporary reorientation and shift in focus, a reconfiguration. Mehrabs were often the sole element used to alter an existing space of worship into an Islamic one as Islam spread far to the east and west of Mecca. The juxtaposition of the structure of a mehrab in the church of St Ignatius as an installation is at once a reflection of this act of appropriation as well as an evidence of generosity.

In its most basic form, a mehrab is made of two perpendicular shapes, a vertical and a horizontal slate, that hold in their embrace the repeated rituals of prayer in Islam of standing, bending and kneeling. The horizontal segment sits on a slightly lowered ground, used by the leader of the prayer who performs the rituals facing the concave structure of the niche, cascading his whispers and chants to the furthest away worshiper. 

Reverberations of Stone, December 2013-May 2014 at Manresa Gallery, St Ignatius Church at University of San Francsico

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