Solidarity Works: Politics of Cultural Memory

The Work of Azra Akšamija

Solidarity Works presents recent work by Azra Akšamija, Class of 1922 Career Development Professor in the Department of Architecture and Assistant Professor of the Arts in SA+P’s Art, Culture and Technology Program.

Solidarity Works explores how art and architecture can act as vehicles for community making, both real and imagined, and generate a sense of solidarity in times of conflict and crisis.

Bridging art, architecture and history, Akšamija’s exploration of heritage dynamics and cultural convergence through Islamic architecture includes projects in a variety of media including textile, furniture, architectural sculpture, video, audio and networked productions.

The Wolk exhibit features her investigation into the global crisis of the museum and future heritage, and it examines the role of cultural memory in evoking a sense of solidarity in the context of nationalism and ethnic conflicts.

In addition to presenting a range of Akšamija’s works exploring the visibility of Muslims in Europe and the US, the exhibit includes photo documentation of the Islamic cemetery at Altach, Austria – winner of the 2013 Aga Khan Award – for which Akšamija designed the Qibla wall-curtain and rugs for the prayer room.

Akšamija’s perspective on conflicts over identity, territory and history, as they are carried out though cultural institutions and religious architecture, are particularity relevant for the ongoing socio-political conflicts related to Islam in the West.