The West

Prayer rugs tell tales of joy, sorrow
Prayer rugs tell tales of joy, sorrow

Two antique prayer rugs were the catalyst for an exhibition whichled artist Olga Cironis to meet WA’s Afghan community and people who arrived in Australia as refugees.

As part of a project by the Fremantle Arts Centre, Ms Cironis was invited to interpret the two 19th Century rugs in a contemporary art context.

‘‘This led me to meet Afghan community members and become involved in their lives,’’ she said.

‘‘We have a similarity as I also feel as if I’m someone who has been misplaced because I was the child of refugees.’’

The multi-faceted exhibition, named Fajr meaning ‘‘dawn’’ in Arabic, will be on display at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries from July 21 to September 8.

Fajr is the first of the five daily prayers recited by practising Muslims and Ms Cironis said prayer rugs were considered special and sacred sacred objects.

‘‘How many people knelt on the woven rugs?’’ she said.

‘‘How many prayers were answered?

‘‘So many years of human desires, fears, joys and sorrows are embedded in these rugs.’’

The exhibition is a combination of photography, digital media and woven works.

Ms Cironis said it was an exhibition based on research, conversations, story telling,listening, feeling and remembering.

‘‘While reading, interviewing and collecting, I often found myself back at the place where I started — when I first saw the two prayer rugs, with their worn edges and obvious human markings left on the rugs, as a reminder of prayer,’’ she said.

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