You are one lucky son of a gun if you get to attend the Venice Biennale. This major International contemporary art exhibition takes place once every two years and in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, Venice, Italy. This year’s exhibition started May 9th and will run until November 22, 2015. The opening of the Biennale saw thousands from the global art community flock to the waterfront metropolis, making it no surprise when controversy sparked within the first week of the exhibition.
THE MOSQUE: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice by Iceland based, Swiss-born artist Cristoph Büchel was created inside a Catholic Church that had gone unused for 4o years. In a press release published when the exhibition first launched, Büchel explained that the exhibit would acknowledge the 20,000 Muslims that do not have access to a mosque or public Muslim venue. Büchel’s intent is that following the exhibition, the installation will become a functioning mosque and Muslim community center. His modern Venetian mosque parallels the historic art and architecture in Venice, which were deeply influenced by Islamic trade and culture.
On May 22nd, Venetian police ordered the termination of Büchel’s mosque, which was five months earlier than the artist had intended to close down the installation. Officials were concerned about conflicting opinions within the city and possible security threats of violence by anti-Islamic extremists or Islamic extremists upset that a mosque was created inside a church.
Fortunately, since the opening, hundreds of Muslim residents of Venice and local cities have come to see or worship at the mosque, without conflict. Unfortunately, the instillation is still closed, however the Biennale released a statement that they “will continue to make every effort to reach a solution that will allow the pavilion to reopen.”
h/t: The New York Times