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Arch jamaleddine julianayang anoushkamariwala sp23 04

to garden a prayer rug

The increasing growth of the Muslim population on Staten Island coincides with a historic imagination of the architecture of the mosque and a sensitivity to how this image is received and regulated by their neighbors. In response, the project’s waqf is the prayer rug, annually handmade to provide sacred surfaces on which members of the Islamic community of Staten Island can pray. The rug is cyclically woven from spun bast fibers, grown on former, de-paved parking lots in the vicinity of mosques, and cultivation following the 34-year lunar-solar cycle.

The stewards of this ritual are the three existing mosques of Staten Island, whose surfaces, orientations, and spatial conditions are also transformed by these new ritual practices. These spaces house the tools necessary for each step of the ritual, housed in those corners and perimeters which fall outside of the oriented use of prayer. Medium, congregational scale looms utilize the interior structural elements of the mosque–such as columns and window frames–as their vertical components. Volunteers furnish warp-weighted looms in their homes for domestic practice, which require simple beam and bracket components installed into window frames, weighed down by stones.

As members of the community weave, the normally empty mosques and homes are transformed into productive, communal spaces. This is an incremental, dispersed transformation of the car-centric suburban landscape into sites of production and prayer, collapsing the means and materials through and on which we worship.