83. Welcome


100 objects found in Mecca
Stories to correspond with each artefact

Found on demolition site in Al Kasalah, 2015

I am Ashraf: I stood at the door of the Sharif of Mecca. Once, those who came to that house to hear the tales of the old city, knew that they must face me first. As I stared down at them, strong like a wise old lion, I looked into their eyes seeking truth and honesty, and in return, I would let them enter.

I have answered the knocking of weary travellers, pilgrims, politicians, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, each one of them coming to the Ajyad district seeking the same things – riches, recognition, but above all else, belonging.

Now I welcome you to the tales we have in store, and as always, I promise to keep you safe from danger’s doo

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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