The Night Of The Gazelle
“…Any men staying in the city is treated like a deserter and severely punished by women who take up the city for one whole night … “
Raja Alem closes her story with a “Shukran” – Thank you. Raja is originally from Mecca, the sacred place for Islamic religion, where men go for pilgrimage. Every Muslim is asked to go to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. And when the Hajj (pilgrimage) happens, six millions figures create a geometrical art piece around the cuboid-shaped building, Kaaba.
As part of the exhibition “Hajj – A journey to Islam,” last night the British Museum in London fell into an eastern atmosphere as it presented the Araba Late, an evening dedicated to Arabic culture.
When entering in the Museum, the eye is forced to focus on the imposing oval structure in the middle of the court. Starting from the glass ceiling, a banner leads to the ground and introduces the exhibition, bringing the sight back to the ground, where the Al Farabi Ensemble is performing Middle Eastern music.
Visitors wandering around are not only Arabic speakers, but French, Italian, English, Indian … If partially we can “blame” it on the touristic attraction the British Museum is, how not to admit that people are actually curious?
So curious they stand in a 20-minute queue to have their hands tattooed with the henna. So curious they attempt to write the Arabic alphabet. So curious they pack the white, ground room 34 to listen to the story Raja had to tell them, “The Night of the Gazelle.”