First Photobook Award Winner: Hidden Islam

Hidden Islam is a cadastral catalogue of makeshift Islamic places of worship located across the Italian regions of the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino and South Tyrol. Inside a sequence of gate folds lies a life lived behind closed doors: men kneeling into prayer; men washing their feet; men conversing; women and children praying in separate rooms; an esplanade of rugs on the floor of a parking; the leftovers of a Middle Eastern meal on the tiled floor of a praying room next to an Italian flag.

France –  The entry to this years’s Award were rifle with gatefolds and Hidden Islam uses this device on every spread. This hardcover book is a clever survey of the inconspicuous locations where Muslims in Northeast  Italy have been forced to gather to pray, its pages opening to reveal worshippers behind non-descript facades. 

  “Touching upon the sensitive issue of Islamophobia in Western Europe, ‘Hidden Islam’ is a five year long project, made between 2009-13, which decodes the ground reality of Italy’s right to worship freely. With an estimated population of over 1.35 Muslim practitioners, shockingly enough, Italy has total number of 8 mosques which leads to proliferation of makeshift places of Islamic worship. Social and political pressure from right-wing party, Lega Nord has shown a large minority being forced to pray in; Warehouse, Shop, Supermarket, Apartment, Stadium, Gym, Garage and Disco. With a map of North East Italy on the cover of the book, titled Hidden Islam « Islamic makeshift places of worship in North East Italy, 2009-2013, is made out of 45 gatefolds showcasing a very interesting and clever contrast between the black and white buildings used for worshipping, with the unfolded intimate colour images of muslims performing ‘Salat’ (offering prayers ) on Fridays.” – Manik Katyal, Founder, Emaho Magazine

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