Who we are
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art, design, and performance with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity, spanning 5000 years of human creativity.
It was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, its purpose is to champion creative industry, inspire the next generation, and spark everyone’s imagination.
The COSARAF Foundation, joined a collaboration of supported to fund the exhibition of the Ramadan Pavilion 2023.
The aim was to celebrate the lived experiences of Muslims across the UK and the globe during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. To bring attention to the core values and traditions of Ramadan through architectural expression, experimentation, and an associated public arts programme, including iftars, performances, and workshops.
Shahed Saleem’s design of the inaugural Ramadan Pavilion responded to the first mosque-like structure in Britain, built by architect Sir William Chambers at Kew Gardens in the 18th Century. His new installation evoked an abstracted mosque for the 21st century, just as the first purpose-built mosque at Kew Gardens represented an exoticised other to the European mind.
The design of the Ramadan Pavilion drew inspiration from the V&A’s collection of prints and photographs of mosques and other examples of Islamic architectural design, as well as the architecture of mosques in Britain since the 1960s. The brightly coloured pavilion took the form of a modern mosque which showcased the dynamic history and evolution of the mosque in Britain and explores themes of worship, belonging, and identity. The architecture of the mosque was recombined to create a hybrid composition of parts, held together by new and emerging notions of identity, history, and belonging. The design reflected the way that British mosques have been built by their communities, where they reference various traditions of Islamic history through architectural symbols.