‘The Inner Apartment’ is an exhibition of contemporary Australian Muslim art curated by Nur Shkembi that explores the fractured beauty of the sacred and mundane. Featuring work by Shireen Taweel, Hoda Afshar and Leila El Rayes, ‘The Inner Apartment’ explores the ways in which ordinarily private, spiritual and deeply personal matters of the heart and mind have been turned inside-out and compelled into the public domain.
Many Australian Muslims now see themselves as a part of a community that is grappling with the uncomfortable reality that their once personal rituals of faith have, in recent years, become the object of public debates relating to national identity and national security.
This social condition implores our efforts as a nation to reflect upon the long-standing history of cultural exchange and dialogue between Islam and the ‘west’, with the desire to know one another within the poetics and beauty of our shared humanity once again.
The experience of the faith and culture of a minority community being politicised and consumed through relentless and vapid media coverage, shock jocks and the like, also brings to light the necessity of the sanctuary of the inner or private self.
Shireen Taweel, Hoda Afshar and Leila El Rayes adopt and adapt traditional motifs, symbols, narratives and art forms to reclaim the personal; repatriating and replenishing these narratives to invite the viewer into their inner world on their terms.
The exhibition explores the local presence of the Australian Muslim history which includes the subtle, spiritual and socio-political undertone within the fractured beauty of a centuries old visual tradition as subsumed in the contemporary works of the artists.