Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present the first solo exhibition in The Netherlands of Marwan Bassiouni’s ongoing series New British Views. In this project the artist captures the English landscape as framed by the windows of mosques and Islamic prayer rooms. Inspired by the long history of immigration in Britain following the country’s colonial past, Bassiouni spent time traveling across the UK to investigate how its landscape and architecture can be observed anew from the perspective of the religious sites of its Islamic communities. Through this journey, which echoes those undertaken by the artist in the Netherlands and Switzerland, Bassiouni challenges the stereotypes and clichés associated with the representation of Arab culture and Islamic religion within Western countries.
Bassiouni invites us to reconsider our viewpoints and questions the phenomenon of ‘othering’. In his New British Views one is confronted with an unexpected representation of Islamic communities in the West, one where similarities and common experience are in focus and beauty is found in the harmonious co-existence of different spaces and perspectives.
Although the photographs appear to be precisely composed, they are in fact documents of existing situations which have been carefully selected by the artist. Bassiouni uses multiple exposures in a single image, causing the foreground and background to appear equally focussed and creating an evenly distributed light. In doing so he eliminates the hierarchy between interior and exterior spaces, and also between the specific interiors of his images, known only to those who frequent these places of worship, and the exterior landscape that is shared by all.