Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Exhibition Showcases The Mosque At The Heart Of Muslim Communities

A new exhibition – Mosque: Faith, Culture, Community – which aims to demystify Islam for non-Muslim New Zealanders opened at the weekend at Canterbury Museum.

Mosque: Faith, Culture, Community highlights the mosque as the heart of Muslim communities, and the diversity of Islamic culture showcased through art and objects. The exhibition has been developed by the Museum in partnership with Christchurch Muslims who are keen to share with the wider community, knowledge and understanding of Islam, and the diversity of those who follow the faith.

Museum Director, Anthony Wright says the exhibition has a very positive focus. “Our hope is that in working with local Muslims we have created uplifting experience for our visitors, one that highlights the diversity of Islamic art, architecture and culture.

“It is important that we share stories from all parts of the Canterbury community and that we work with those communities in presenting them. We hope that the exhibition will dispel some of the misconceptions about Islam and that visitors will come away with a greater understanding of their Muslim neighbours.”

The first Muslims to arrive in New Zealand, Mahomet and Mindia Wuzerah, and their sons Pero and Mero, came to Christchurch in 1854 from India, working in the household of John Cracroft Wilson in Cashmere. Other Muslims, mostly from China and India, arrived in Otago and on the West Coast during the nineteenth century gold rushes.

New Zealand’s first mosque opened in Auckland in 1979 and Christchurch’s first Islamic Centre a year later in a small house in Phillipstown.

The exhibition highlights the role of the mosque as the centre of Islamic religious life and the place where people meet, exchange news, learn and celebrate. In a video made for the exhibition, Muslims who worship at Christchurch’s mosques – Al-Noor, the Linwood Islamic Centre and the Rasul-O-Allah Centre, Bishopdale – talk about what their mosque means to them. Objects on display from the Museum collection and the community illustrate the influence of differing cultures on expressions of the Muslim faith.

Anthony Wright adds that the exhibition has been an opportunity to put on display rarely seen Islamic objects from the Museum’s collection including a beautifully decorated Qur’an produced in Kashmir, India/Pakistan dating back to 1700.

The tragic events of 15 March 2019 are marked by a small display of the tributes left outside the Linwood and Al-Noor Mosques and the Botanic Gardens in an outpouring of love, support and solidarity for the victims. The headscarf worn by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, during public events at the time is also displayed. She donated it to the Museum in late 2019.

Community representatives selected the tributes for display from the collection held at the Museum. About 100 tributes, a representative sample of the thousands left in the outpouring of aroha (love) and support for the victims of the Christchurch mosques attacks, are cared for by the Museum. Staff worked with the Muslim community representatives last year to select the tributes from the thousands laid at sites across the city and wider region in the wake of the attacks.

Mosque: Faith, Culture, Community also features 33 drawings of mosques drawn on location by internationally acclaimed Syrian-America artist and architect Whabi Al-Hariri Rifai (1914–1994) in the last years of his life. Al-Hariri travelled to 16 countries, from Spain to China, to document the most significant historic mosques of the world. The collection of large graphite drawings, entitled Spiritual Edifices of Islam, depicts the rich diversity of Islamic architecture. They were first exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, United States of America in 1999 and have been shown at major museums and venues around the world.

The display of Spiritual Edifices of Islam is supported by the Georgetown Design Group, Washington DC.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland