Saturday, July 6, 2013


"Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca,
has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world.
Entire households may save for years to send a respected family member to Mecca.
Egyptian journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious
odyssey on the walls of their homes. Hajj paintings is the first visual record
of the richness and variety of this naive art form, considered Egypt's most 
significant contribution to the contemporary international folk art scene."

"Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spend a decade
exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along
the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into the
Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories
to mud brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated
and scenes from the Koran. Their nearly one hundred and fifty
color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the
radiant palette of mostly self-taught artists."

"On exterior walls, images of transportation — ranging from
camels to airplanes — provide a spirited contrast with calligraphic
inscriptions and pastoral renderings of Islamic workshop.
Occasionally, images of pure fantasy, business and commercial references,
scenes from everyday life, and traditional representations
from Pharaonic times, as well as a variety of plants and animals, adorn
the houses. Parker and Neal also reveal the cool, shaded interior
walls of pilgrims' homes where murals unmarred by the elements  often
depict more personal themes. They examine the meanings of recurring motifs,
 compare regional styles, and identify contemporary masters of Hajj paintings."

 Hajj Paintings

Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
by Ann Parker and Avon Neal
Smithsonian 1995