For over 1200 years mystics across the Muslim world have challenged orthodoxy, championed the plight of the oppressed, and spoken Truth to Power. Known as Sufis, their mode of engagement, knowledge acquisition and aesthetics combined theology with local folk traditions.
Inspired by these precedents, artist and academic Tasawar Bashir has refined an approach that draws together popular theologies, folkloric tales and alternative cosmological outlooks, into contemporary art works that speak humanely about the fluid nature of faith, identity, and reality.
Bashir, a PhD reader in the cultural history of modern Qawwali at the University of Birmingham, England, and Artist in Residence at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, England, set up the Qawwali Research Unit (QRU) as a collective to explore his academic research within real and imaginary architectures. QRU collaborators include Kuwaiti architect Zahra Ali Baba, British sound artist Brian Duffy, Indian composer AR Rahman and Canadian composer Scott Wilson.
Previous works by QRU include; Silsila at the Asian Triennial Manchester (2012), Kethra at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2013), the Sufi Experience Dubai Concert (2014), and I am with Yogi at the Huddersfield Electronica Spring Festival (2016)
Sponsored by Arts Council England and Zmax Fairway Colombo