Collaboration with Hazel Durrant and Hassan Vawda
The project’s title Equal Parts refers to the ritual sacrifices made during Eid Al-Adha, or “The Festival of Sacrifice”, where animals are split into three portions to be shared amongst those most in need; as well as the notion that Muslims should be entitled to the same forms of participation within the Tate Britain. The Muslim community can be involved as key stakeholders of the gallery space and add real value as patrons and artists; and not simply as onlookers of a prescribed history, but as active contributors who can ascribe meaning to the space and the works within it.
Equal Parts ambitiously reinvented the institution’s spaces and public programmes. People from across London came together to break bread in a communal potluck with Ethiopian food and coffee from the Al Negashi Centre, dishes from the Tate staff and sweets from the Ramadan Tent Project. Tate’s greenhouse was transformed into an Islamic children’s bookstore, and the Djanogly lawn became a prayer space, featuring talks with Imams and activities for children where they could design a “London Prayer Mat”. There were also Islamic tours of the Tate led by blue badge tour guide Abdul Maalik Tailor.
A pioneering social project, Equal Parts was Tate Britain’s first ever Eid event since its opening in 1897 and marked several of the institution’s other “firsts”, from the first Eid celebration at the Tate, which called for its first collaboration with local mosques Al Negashi Centre and Victoria Islamic Cultural Centre; to the the first Islamic tour of the gallery, which critically examined the Tate’s acquisitions and interpretations of their collection. This was also the first time a call to prayer was made at the Tate, which was preceded by the first ever Iftar dinner organised in its halls, held a week prior to the official launch of Equal Parts. This event not only opened up a discursive space, it also opened doors of possibilities to help us envision what public institutions could look like.