Manik Katyal on Nicolo Degiorgis “Hidden Islam”

Nicolò Degiorgis is an Italian visual artist, publisher, photographer, and curator. He runs Rorhof, an independent publishing house in Bolzano, Italy. He has self-published a number of books, including Hidden Islam.

Italy –

Winner of Author Book Award 2014 at the Rencontres d’Arles, self-published book ‘Hidden Islam’ by Fabrica graduate, Photography feature – Nicolo Degiorgis, is a strong anthropological documentation of Islam in Italy.

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.

Hidden_Islam_03

 

“In Italy the right to worship, without discrimination, is enshrined within the constitution. There are 1.35 million Muslims in Italy and yet, officially, only eight mosques in the whole country,” Martin Parr wrote in introduction to Nicolo Degiorgis’s Hidden Islam.

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.

 

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