Al Astar: Volume 1: Arabic edition (Hardcover)
The Mosque in Mecca, arranged around the central Ka’ba, is the holiest site in Islam. Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed. The city of Mecca has grown over the centuries like its counterpart, Madinah. Mecca now accommodates as many as tens of thousands of pilgrims in a single day. The site is the point of pilgrimage to which pilgrims travel from across the world in the annual Hajj, a key point in Islamic spiritual life. The Ka’ba is a symbol of unity, a structure of the greatest geometrical simplicity containing a single door. It is, however, considered to be feminine in gender and is draped in a covering of black cloth known as Al Astar to protect its modesty. This cloth, woven with gold, is replaced every year with a special ceremony. On this one day, the Ka’ba is left exposed and unveiled. Adel Alquraishi, a Saudi photographer from Riyadh, had established his reputation with the authorities of the Great Mosque in Mecca with his work on the Guardians of the Mosque in Madinah, published in 2020 as The Guardians. In parallel with that book, the authorities allowed Adel Alquraishi to photograph the Ka’ba, the epicentre of Islam, in its undraped state.
Adel Al-Quraishi is a self-taught visual artist and photographer, born in the Saudi Arabian city of Al Khobar in 1968. His work has been exhibited around the world, most notably with his show Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World at American University Museum in Washington, DC in 2018.