As part of a new collaboration with Casa Árabe.

Kuwaiti-Puerto Rican artist Alia Farid is currently in residence at Casa Árabe’s premises in Córdoba, as part of a new collaboration between Delfina Foundation and Casa Árabe in Spain.

During an initial research trip to Córdoba in February 2013, Farid was inspired by a set of shapes she noticed on the ground outside of the Aljama Mosque, which she initially thought to be outlines of two oversized public prayer mats, but later found out were markings made by archeologists to register a set of pillars that once stood in support of a bridge connecting the Mosque to the Califa’s palace (Alcázar). In response to these markings, Farid has designed a planter box in the shape of a siyadeh (prayer mat in Arabic). The planter box –a 10cm deep rectangle with a smaller head-like rectangle on one end to indicate directional use– transforms the act of praying into gardening as a reminder that prayer is in everything. The exercise is meant to challenge singular expressions of faith by offering an alternative form of prayer, and thus hopefully a broadened understanding that embraces more quotidian practices and expressions of reverence.

Thirteen of these planter boxes have been prepared for a gardening workshop that Farid will be leading on May 4, 2013 at Casa Árabe in Córdoba. In this workshop, participants will be invited to partake in the design and cultivation of their own “garden-siyadeh.” While plants will be made freely available during the workshop, participants will also be encouraged to incorporate their own plants (herbs, flowers, fruit and vegetable plants) and trinkets. The results of the workshop will be exhibited in the central patio of Casa Árabe during the popular annual Patios Festival taking place in Córdoba on 8-19 May, 2013 (visiting hours: 11 am to 6 pm). Later documentation of the 13 “garden-siyadehs”, each in their respective locations, will be made available online through the following blog:

Alia Farid is Casa Árabe’s first artist-in-residence. Casa Arabe is a Spanish institution with headquarters in Madrid and Cordoba, which aims at strengthening political, economic and cultural relations between Spain and the Arab and Muslim world. It has developed an intense program of cultural exchange and cooperation under which this artist residency program is undertaken

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