Yazd – Threads of light through the bazaar Photo-embroidery by Nadia Al-Foudery
Benaki Museum Museum of Islamic Art Press Release
Opening: Tuesday, 10 November 2009, at 20:00 Duration of exhibition: 11 November 2009 – 17 January 2010 Greek-Kuwaiti artist Nadia Al-Foudery spent the winter of 2007 travelling through Iran in search of the perfect recipe for her late grandmother’s fasanjoon, chicken with pomegranate sauce. Although she never discovered quite the recipe she wanted, Al-Foudery found visual inspiration in the narrow alleyways of the ancient city of Yazd instead. The resulting collection of black and white photographs enhanced by delicate embroidery and strategic lighting entitled, “Yazd – Threads of light through the bazaar,” will be showing at the Benaki Museum of Islamic art from 11 November 2009 to 17 January 2010. Yazd is a city of tremendous historical importance. Once the centre of Zoroastrian culture, it lays in an oasis between two deserts. Framing the city are the famous Towers of Silence, where the dead were once laid to rest in the open air, their bodies consumed by vultures. Within the heart of the city is the old mud-brick bazaar, a meeting place of city inhabitants and travellers throughout history. From antiquity into contemporary times the bazaar of Yazd, located inside a magical labyrinth of narrow alleyways and Islamic domes, has been at the centre of countless lives, loves, transactions, misdemeanours, histories and fictions.
Walking through the dark alleys topped by a series of clay domes, each one with an openair oculus in its peak, I was struck by the effect of sunlight shining through these holes to create chiaroscuro shadows on the walls and floor. The shadows change shape from dawn to sunset and the juxtaposition of perfect geometric shapes found in Islamic architecture with the hand-moulded clay walls, creates an atmosphere that borders on the surreal. The bazaar is alive. It is not merely a solid mass of architecture...