• Children of Abraham

Abbas - Children of Abraham

Ancillary exhibition to Act of Faith

The Iranian-born photographer Abbas (1944) made his name with the book La Révolution Confisquée (1980) in which he reported on the revolution in his native land. Since 1981 he has been connected with the famous photo agency Magnum. About the same time he started on his intensive and world-encompassing report on religions and the role of faith in social life. One result of this project was his 1994 book Allah O Akbar, A Journey through Militant Islam. Speaking of the exhibition Children of Abraham - also the title of his most recent book - Abbas says:

"From 1978 to 1980 I cover the Iranian Revolution, then for seven years, from 1987 to 1993 I travel the land of Muslims. From Sinkiang to Morocco, from London to Timbuktu, visiting New York and Mecca, I photograph the daily lives of Muslims, the rituals of their faith, their spirituality as well as the emergence of Islamism, its fanaticism and its violence. Driven by a desire to understand the internal tensions at work within Muslim societies, I expose the conflict between a rising political ideology looking for inspiration in a mythical past and the universal desire for modernity and democracy. This work achieved, for six years, from 1995 to the year 2000, I photograph Christian communities throughout the world with the same critical eye. Heralding the dawn of the "Third Millennium", the year 2000 imposes itself as the universal calendar and therefore a symbol of Western Civilization: that year Jews celebrate the year 5760 and Muslims the year 1420. During these journeys, I also photograph Jews; the children of Abraham, claimed as a common ancestor by both Christians and Muslims. I gather for the first time the three monotheist religions into a single exhibition and a catalogue with extracts from my travel diaries."