This fall, Muslim traditional prayer rugs will be the subject of a new exhibition called “Sanctuary” presented by the San Francisco arts non-profit For-Site. The show (running October 7th through March, 2018 at the Fort Mason Centre for Arts and Culture) will feature wool prayer rugs hand-made by master weavers in Lahore, Pakistan plus new designs by 36 artists including the Palestinian artist Emily Jacir, the Mexican artist Ana Teresa Fernández and the American artist Hank Willis Thomas.
After removing ones shoes, visitors will be able to walk across and sit or lie on the rugs. This act is a way of “making oneself more vulnerable to the ideas—just the very act of exposing that part of their body to experience the work,” says Cheryl Haines, the executive director of For-Site.
Ms. Haines says the artists were given relative freedom in subject matter and composition. “We really did not edit the content of any of the works, and when you see the multiplicity of approaches and ideas, it’s clear that many of the designs have a highly personal significance.”