Rabbits Road Press, Newham
& New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 2018

Documentation of performance by Abbas Zahedi and Sofia Niazi at Hyson Green/Radford Road Junction, Nottingham, 2018. Courtesy of: New Art Exchange.
Documentation of Sermon pamphlets, designed by Abeera Kamran and printed at Rabbits Road Press. 2018.

This site-specific intervention and publication was developed in collaboration with Sofia Niazi (OOMK zine & Rabbit’s Road Press) as part of my Live Archive residency at New Art Exchange in Nottingham, 2018.

Online edition:

Contributors: Sumaya Kassim, Rosalie Schweiker, Mohammad Whelbourne and more recently, Talha Ahsan.

Sermons was a self-initiated ‘religion but looks like art’ project which took place in 2018 when Sofia Niazi and Abbas Zahedi invited a group of artists and writers, for whom the sermon was a meaningful format, to spend time thinking about, researching and developing sermons/khutbas that they felt were needed today. Each artist/writer was sent a few guidelines and a sermon checklist, which had been written by a pastor, to help them research and write their sermon. The books (approx 200) were designed by Abeera Kamran and printed at Rabbits Road Press. The sermons were intended for the congregation of the public, they were distributed by Niazi and Zahedi from a preaching stall in Nottingham and used as an opportunity to talk to passers-by about beliefs, God and if all else failed, art.

Printing and distribution supported by New Art Exchange, Nottingham.

About the Live Archive (NAE) residency:

Abbas Zahedi is a British artist working across sound, moving image, installation, performance and participatory events. His current practice is influenced by his concept of neo-diaspora – the experience of being a second generation migrant, in a hyper-connected world. Inspired by Akram Zaatari’s exhibition and delivered over the period of the show, Zahedi presents his new project, Live Archive, a programme of performances and discussions that create the opportunity to engage with faith-based rituals and artistic practice as part of the same act.

Designed to extend the relationships between Nottingham’s multifaceted Muslim community and New Art Exchange, Live Archive, emerged from a research phase where Zahedi interviewed diverse local communities and organisations. A process of collaboration was then created to bring aspects of existing ritual practice and discourse into the gallery context; entangling the living archive of the community with the exhibition space.

The Live Archive events will include a sacred-chanting ceremony (Dhikr) led by Nottingham Muslim Women’s Network, poetry recitations (Qasidah) with traditional music, a Sermon ‘outreach’ performance in collaboration with artist Sofia Niazi (OOMK zine) and culminating in a discussion exploring Islam and faith as manifested through contemporary image-led society.