Assembly 2018 - 23

Brick Lane Mosque, London / Old Kent Road Mosque, London / Harrow Central Mosque, London / 
Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham / Applied Arts Pavilion, Venice / Staffordshire Street Gallery, London

Assembly is a series of site-specific installations that perform Islamic prayer spaces, made and exhibited in Brick Lane Mosque (2018 –19), Old Kent Road Mosque (2019–20) and Harrow Mosque (2020-21). Made in collaboration with the respective mosque communities, reflexive workshops establish clear guidelines for the filming process, ensuring an ethical, non-intrusive approach that respects the sacred moment of worship. Subsequently, automated motorised camera rigs are designed and installed in each mosque to record the Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer from an ariel perspective. The film is then projected onto the same carpet where the prayer took place, encouraging each community to reflect on their own religious practices and explore thoughts and feelings related to worship, time, space, and being. As one congregation member described,

"The projection opened my eyes to the physical act of prayer. Of movement and repetition. Because my view or senses are often fixed on a focal point (the imam), I didn’t really consider my own movements. But of course, in the core of Islamic thought, it is the worshipper’s movements that are essential and none others." (Congregation feedback)

The controlled motorisation of the projection mirrors the movement of the recorded image, which gives the effect of only the frame moving through physical space, constantly revealing, and concealing the actual site below. Assembly does more than reproduce prayer: it also “performs” the social and religious structures of the site, each installation functions as a self-making apparatus, in turn, making a broader argument about the triumph of lived space over representational space. At the end of each residency, each mosque congregation invited the public into their mosques, providing an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims to experience Jumu'ah first-hand via the site performances.  The findings from this research were shown as part of the Three British Mosques exhibition at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Shahed Saleem and the V&A.

Project partners were the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, Interfaith UK and the Muslim Council of Britain.


Brick Lane Mosque, London

Jammat is site performance at Brick Lane Mosque (2021). This moving image installations was made in collaboration with the mosque community establishing clear guidelines for the filming process, ensuring an ethical, non-intrusive approach that respects the sacred moment of worship.


Old Kent Road Mosque, London

The Muslim Association of Nigeria UK (MAN UK) informally started in the early 1960s with a transient community of Nigerians coming to London to study. Initially staying only for short periods of time, it was not until the 1980s when a more permanent community started to develop. It took a further 10 years before MAN UK acquired our first place of worship in 1993 and established the Old Kent Road Mosque.


Harrow Central Mosque, London

Made as part of the Three British Mosque project for the venice Biennele the mosque was established in 1980 and from 1985 occupied a converted house on Station Road, Harrow. It later expanded to occupy the house next door but in this form it was still far too small to service Harrow’s Muslim community. As a result a new mosque has been built adjacent to the old mosque and was occupied in December 2011. The vision for the new building project is to provide a purpose-built mosque that will serve the needs of Muslims within Harrow and further afield.


Three British Mosques
V&A Special Project Applied Arts Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale

In collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum and architect Shahed Saleem the Three British Mosques exhibition was made for the Applied Arts Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale. The pavilion looked at the self-built world of adapted mosques through 1:1 reconstructions of their highly decorative mihrabs, minbars and other architectural elements.


Faith Place and Migration
Staffordshire Street Gallery, London

This multi-media installation introduces the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of London's oldest Nigerian community, the Old Kent Road Mosque. Through this exhibition, the curators question the nature of a community archive and explore how the narratives of community members are embedded in and told through the architecture of their sacred spaces.


Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham

Filmed and projected during Eid 2019, Birmingham Central Mosque is the second purpose built mosque in the United Kingdom, which was built in 1969 and opened to the public in the early 70’s. It is one of the most recognised religious buildings in the city of Birmingham and a result, a vast number of people visit this mosque every year.