Temporary Isolation – 19 is an interactive large-scale installation by Raghad Al Ahmad, whose title refers to the period of isolation enforced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a time of solitude away from the usual certainties of our lives, during which many people experienced self-discovery. Through this artwork, Al Ahmad conveys her own experience of looking inwards – a search for answers which led her to Allah, by gaining wisdom, peace and strength – while offering visitors a brief respite from the city streets.
The installation takes the form of an illuminated minaret with a long staircase leading up to a mihrab (the niche in the mosque’s qibla wall, indicating the direction of Mecca). The visitor is invited to enter this space alone in order to connect with themselves, their thoughts, heart and soul. Temporarily isolated, they are able to take the time to sit and meditate, away from the frenetic exterior world, where the fast pace and distractions of life mean people forget even to breathe.
Light illuminates this journey inwards; as the visitor makes their way to the mihrab to sit in peace, those outside will watch a light follow, spiraling upward to the top of the minaret.