Antonie Roberston is on a 30 day road trip photographing mosques across the United Arab Emirates. It's for a special visual project for The National. He is also writing about his experience on his personal blog. Inspired by last year's 30 Mosques in 30 States by Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq’s trip across the United States (they're on the road again this Ramadan), Antonie writes,
With some very unique locations still to come I know the journey will provide me with ample visual opportunities. But creating images has always been the way that I explore the world around me. My excuse for personal journeys. And with this project I hope to gain a much wider insight into Islam, hopefully forming a better understanding of the religion that so many non believers know little about.
I am looking forward to seeing what Antonie discovers on this road trip. So far, I love the cubist looking mosque on Palm Jumeriah Island in Dubai. Here's a small selection of photos and quotes from his blog. But please do visit Antonie's site to follow his entire journey this month.
Masjid Qubbat As Sakhrah (The Dome of the Rock Mosque) in Abu Dhabi
Hidden between the suburban villas of Abu Dhabi, a stones throw away from Souk Qaryat Al Beri and the Shangri-La Hotel, stands one of Abu Dhabi’s most recognizable mosques. A replica, yet smaller, of the famous Dome Of The Rock Mosque located in Jerusalem.
Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Al Shahama, Abu Dhabi
Shams Abdul Raheem Mosque in Jumeirah, Dubai
Hidden between towering green trees lies the 5th destination of my trip. Walking through the gates of the Shams Abdul Raheem Mosque in Jumeirah one is surrounded by lush foliage at this neighborhood’s small masjid. The sparse courtyard paints a picture of what waits inside the mosque itself.
Entering through the dark wooden doors one is welcomed by the cool interior into a peaceful prayer hall. Small golden chandeliers fill the space with a warm glow. To me, the design is reminiscent of days gone by. It reminds me of places I used to see when I first came to the UAE 8 years ago. And makes me think of visuals I associate with Sheikh Zayed’s era.
Abdul Rahman Siddik Mosque on Palm Jumeirah Island, Dubai
Most might miss, while traveling down the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, the Abdul Rahman Siddik Mosque as it stands just before the tunnel entrance. That is if it wasn’t for its futuristic design of glass, steel and stone. Its towering minaret resembling a space age observation deck. Cubist marble walls suport its single dome. And lush young trees grown in the thin, sparse garden that surround the building.
As sunset nears, the masjid courtyard starts to buzz with laborers from the nearby developments, workers from all backgrounds start to pile in. Taxis conveniently pull into the mosque parking lot on their way to the next fare. But only a few resemble, what might be, residents from the surrounding frond villas.
Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai
Jumeirah Mosque, having photographed this masjid more than a few times over the course of my 8 year stay in the Emirates, I was apprehensive at the possibility of finding a new angle for the seventh shoot of my project. But with it being one of the few Mosques open to non muslim it was a definite destination for my month long exploration of the country’s masjids.