“Photography is the closest we come to freezing time, but the challenge of a photo is freezing the
feeling.” – Adel Al Quraishi
Adel Al Quraishi is a Saudi photographer and self-taught visual artist who developed his craft under the guardianship of Brazilian photographer, Humberto da Silveira. Al Quraishi began his career by photographing landscapes before fostering an interest in portraiture. His most notable work The Guardians documents portraits of the individuals who guard the Prophet
Muhammad’s(s) chamber from within the Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina. Al Quraishi’s depiction of these suited in their traditional attire and poised with sultry glares, although noble and fitting, it is in contrast to how they go about their daily lives. These men, once numbering over a thousand and now only seven, are the most humble of individuals. Their manner, reclusive and unassuming by nature, is an edict to which each Muslim should live, mirrors of appropriate conduct as engendered in the Sunna (tradition) of the Prophet(s). They remain inconspicuous, going about their daily duties with such reverential courtesy they remain invisible to the tide of pilgrims in attendance. Through his solemn portraits Al Quraishi successfully records a piece of history until now untold. And through it teaches us about an 800-year tradition of service and devotion. Using his art form Al Quraishi serves a timely reminder that the things that truly ennoble us as humans are humility and service.
Designated as being of ‘Outstanding International Importance’ by Arts Council England, the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript has been radio carbon dated to be amongst the oldest in the world. It is part of the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts, held at the Cadbury Research Library in the University of Birmingham. The script is handwritten on parchment in Hijazi script without vowel marking or nuqtas (points). The manuscript consists of two leaves, as four pages, with extracts from three chapters – Kahf, Mariam and Taha.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is located in the centre of the city and houses the largest public collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world. First opened in 1885, the Grade II listed building, has over 40 galleries displaying a mixture of art, social history, archaeology and ethnography. From February the gallery will become the temporary home for The Birmingham Qur’an manuscript. For further information telephone: 0121 348 8000