The red between black and white
Special photo exhibition, EHESS, main hall
15 September-15 October 2010
Omar Kasmani, a PhD student in Social Anthropology at Freie Universität (Berlin), is also an artist and photographer. We are very thankful to him that he accepted to contribute while featuring a photo exhibition: “The red between black and white” (see posters).
He chose images capturing the various aspects of Sehwan Sharif in Sindh, including people (faqîrs, ascetics, women and eunuchs), events (`urs, muharram), as well as ritual practices (dhammâl, charagi, ghusl) and ceremonies (nawchandi, rajabi). Around 30 photographs, mixing coloured images with black and white photos, were displayed in the main hall of the EHESS during the conference and for several weeks afterwards.
The artist’s statement is:
“My work questions the ‘black and white’ images of the ‘practising’ Muslim. Devoid of nuances, it is often imagined in contrasting tropes of uncritical submission to, or outright rejection of, religious tradition. Practices at the shrine of the ‘red’ saint in southern Pakistan highlight an inventive vocabulary of negotiation between local devotion and translocal agency giving rise to new forms of religiosity. Far from constructions of a fixed, homogenous and universal Islam, referred to invariably in the singular, with the capital I, my encounters in Sehwan sharif reveal the dynamic, heterogenous and plural capacities of ‘lived islams’.”
Some of the photos displayed at the exhibition can be consulted on the author’s website.