Footage of sufi ceremony wins Blake Prize - Art Collector

Khaled Sabsabi, Naqshbandi Greenacre Engagement, 2011. 3 channel video, 90 min 26 sec. Courtesy: the artist

21 September 2011 | Sydney-base multimedia artist Khaled Sabsabi has won the 2011 Blake Prize for religious and spiritual art. His video work Naqshbandi Greenacre engagement captures a ceremonial gathering of the Naqshbandi Sufi Muslims.

The 90-minute video provides rare footage of the ceremony, commenting on the power of shared and communal spirituality.

The Naqshbandi Sufis, who reside in Sydney’s West and Melbourne, are mystics who believe one’s journey is the return to God. Members of the group invited Sabsabi into their space to video a sacred weekly ceremony (Ziker) over a three-month period at a local Western Sydney Scout Hall.

The work was developed in 2010 as part of Edge of Elsewhere project for Campbelltown Art Centre, Gallery 4A and Sydney Festival.

Sabsabi, who was born in Tripoli, is now based in Western Sydney. Last year he was awarded the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship for his work
99 (Most Beautiful Names of Allah). He is currently travelling in Lebanon, Syria and the surrounding areas as a result of the prize.

This year there were over 1,100 entries. The 72 finalist works are on display at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney until 15 October 2011.

Jane O'Sullivan

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