45. The Fasting Box


2014 CE
1435 AH
Given in Mecca as a gift during Ramadan for breaking the fast, 2014

I am small, but precious. Any other day of the year, you wouldn’t look twice at me. But during Ramadan, when you are all fasting, in the state of ihram, I am like a green beacon – bright as the lining of the kiswah, the green of the new prayer mats! As the fasting is broken, they hand out millions of boxes just like me. People try not to grab or push, but it is of course human nature – even near the house of God.

You’ll find inside me everything you need to stave off the hunger and keep bad moods at bay: a date, water, a sandwich, laban and juice. Remember: start with the date – it will give you a boost before the queue at Al Baik!

This work transcends the objects. Ultimately, what I’m working with isn’t only the artefacts themselves, but the stories attached to them. For me, each tale is the manifestation of the object, and each object is a tangible materialisation of an underlying narrative. The work finds its equilibrium somewhere between the stories and chronology they’re chaptered into, the objects becoming knots or points along the timeline, woven into stories as part of the language of this artwork. Each story draws out a tale that intends to trigger imagination and memory, mixing fact with fiction, with the ultimate aim of straddling, conflating and confusing fixed notions of history to open up the unofficial histories that shape the character of place and memory.
Ahmed Mater
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