When researching different prayer rugs for a new series of textile collages, Mounir Fatmi noticed that there were styles made to appeal to women, with pinks and yellows, and others geared towards men, made with darker hues of blues or greens. By combining fragments of prayer rugs from both, Fatmi constructed a series of five, rainbow hued collages titled, Behind the Rainbow (Derriere l’arc en ciel). Made between 2014-2015, the series shows the rainbow/ROYGBIV gradation now universally linked to the flag and symbol for LGBTQ rights, fused with a symbol of a religion that still refuses to accept homosexuality. In many ways, the Muslim prayer rug is sort of like a mobile space of one’s own. If it’s time to pray, out comes the carpet, unrolled and laid out on the spot, giving the user a feeling of privacy and intimacy in his prayers despite the rest of the world moving on around him. It’s almost like a security blanket in that sense, something likely comforting and reliable, a space on which you can be yourself. But what to do if you are not allowed that freedom, not allowed that space to be who you want to be? Are not accepted for who you are? Behind the Rainbow suggests the hopeful possibility of having a “one rug for all”, these beautifully made collages full of colors, patterns, and abstracted forms merging with images of Muslim architecture, symbols, and decorative motifs. They look good together.
Mounir Fatmi is a Moroccan artist who lives and works in Paris.Read more