(1979, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Lives in Abha, Saudi Arabia)
Desert of Pharan / Adam
(Large-scale photography and video)
Ibn Abbas (Islamic scholar, cousin of the Prophet Muhammad): Adam was cast down in India and Eve in Jeddah. Adam went in search of her until they met and Eve drew near to him [izdalifat] and therefore the place was called “Muzdalifah”. They knew each other [ta’arifa] at ‘Arafat and hence the name ‘Arafat…
In this first series of work extracted from Ahmed Mater’s extensive documentation of Makkah (Desert of Pharan), Ahmed focuses on the love story underlying the Hajj pilgrimage. Not only thus this tradition connect India and the Hijaz in the most primordial sense; it also brought together more than three million pilgrims in 2012 in a shared quest for universal love.
Desert of Pharan/ Adam follows the complex movements of these millions through an elaborate ritual, conducted on an infrastructure defying the human scale of the pilgrimage.