‘Mapping Sanctuaries’ is a project by UK based Iraqi artist Alaa Alsaraji, that aims to illustrate the sanctuaries that have been created for and by Muslim communities, in light of the profound effects of state surveillance, Islamophobia and racism in Britain today. We can often feel isolated and conscious to embrace our heritage, faith, and identity in the public sphere. Alaa is looking to examine and illustrate the spaces individuals and communities have created or adopted to foster a sense of belonging.
From the private to the public, these spaces are often improvised and built out of necessity. From the local import shops to the local mosques, or our own kitchen tables, these spaces enhance a sense of belonging; both for individuals and wider communities, creating a ‘sanctuary’, where we can feel safe to exist fully as ourselves, without having to explain or defend ourselves.
What do these spaces look like for you? Where do you feel a sense of belonging? How can we foster a sense of community? Get in touch with the artist by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by DM on Instagram @alaa_alsaraji to be anonymously interviewed on your experiences, and for a chance to feature illustrations of your personal ‘sanctuaries’ in the upcoming exhibition later this year: ‘Mapping Sanctuaries.’