The Hajj exhibition, held at the Institut du Monde Arab Paris, presented the pilgrimage to Mecca in its various facets and historical development. Individual mystical experience, religious meditation, source of artistic inspiration and cross-cultural exchanges, these multiple facets of the pilgrimage are presented to the public through medieval art objects, manuscripts and illuminations, ceremonial fabrics and offerings. The contemporary dimension is also present through the eyes of Saudi artists on the pilgrimage. The Western gaze is not forgotten: Orientalist painters, travellers and chroniclers have explored this central event of Islam, crossing themes common to the two civilizations: universalism, figure of Abraham, relation to the other. The exhibition invites the public to discover this ancestral but still living practice.
Organized in co-production by the Arab World Institute and the National Library of King Abdulaziz in Riyadh, the exhibition Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Mecca takes up the British Museum's project, presented in 2012, by evolving it. The exhibition is curated by Fahad Abdulkareem of the King Abdulaziz Library and Omar Saghi, a political scientist and writer.