Aid — Week 6

Title of Portfolio:

“Aid”

Description of Portfolio:

I chose to use graphic design as my media for this portfolio for Week 6. Depicted is the Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque (Begova Dzamijda) that is on the brink of complete destruction by a crane. Adjacent to the Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque the text of “silenced islam”, where as next to the crane is the text of “LOUD ISLAM”.

Explanation of Portfolio:

A central theme in Week 6 is the art and architecture of masjids across various Muslim communities throughout the world. One of Gülru Necipoğlu’s central arguments in The Topkapi Scroll is that the architecture presented in these mosques have an “assumption of an inner esoteric dimension of outer artistic forms” (Necipoğlu 82). In other words, the civilization creating the art derives personal meaning to such architecture. Although there is much debate regarding the significance of Islamic architecture from both Necipoğlu and Nasr (another renowned scholar on this matter) a key subject that they would both agree upon is that the destruction of such pieces of art is a travesty.

As described in the Turkish Times article titled “Erasing Culture: Wahhabism, Buddhism, Balkan Mosques”, Michael Sells emphasizes how “under the guise of ‘reconstruction aid'”, many organizations and countries have “bulldozed major monuments” or have “gutted them and transformed the classic Balkan Muslim interiors into what one expert has called ‘hospital white’ boxes” (Sells 3). Funded by the sect Wahhabi which “propounds a version of Islam that sees all Sufism as infidelity” and “all shrine veneration” or “local pilgrimages” as “idolatry” (Sells 1), the destruction and “renovations” of such monuments is largely justified through this interpretation of Islam through the lens of Wahhabism. Given that Wahhabism is the dominant faith tradition in some countries, I sought to tie this concept to the course-wide theme of Loud Islam vs. Silenced Islam.

In fact in his article, Sells specifically emphasizes that latest example of “Wahhabi-directed annihilation” is with the “great Gazi Husrevbeg Mosque” (Sells 3). For this reason, I choose to use an image of the Gazi Husrevbeg Mosque as a symbol to demonstrate the mistreatment and destruction of individualistic, personal Islam described by “silenced Islam” by a crane that is bulldozing such sites of veneration out of the justification the mainstream beliefs described by “Loud Islam”. The ensuing illustration highlights the impact of Loud Islam onto individuals, ultimately leading to “silenced Islam”, all in the guise of aid.

 

Additional Notes:
In illustrating this idea through graphic design, I found it best to depict a cartoon facsimile of Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque. I used a combination of photoshop and images from the internet to accomplish this goal. Moreover, I adapted an image I found online cartoon from a textbook of a crane destroying a site in Jersalem as inspiration for the application of the crane to the Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque. However, the drawings outside of the cartoon facsimile of Gazi Husrev Beg Mosque (including but not limited to the crane, cliff, grass, and text) were drawn by me.

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