23.04 — 26.11.2023

Sama: The Divine Listening Room

Onassis Stegi (GR), Spor (DK), Ultima (NO), Wilde Westen (BE), hmcf// (UK)

Sama Divine Listening Room

A performance by Arshia Fatima Haq (IND/USA)

Sama: The Divine Listening Room is an experimental audio/visual performance. It aims to convey a sense of both our past and our future.

Sama is part of a series of works by Arshia Fatima Haq. Exploring embodiment, mysticism, and Sufi knowledge through various artistic mediums, Haq’s projects have gained global recognition, exhibited at prestigious venues worldwide. In this iteration, she partners with sound artist Yara Mekawei. Influenced by architecture, social history, and philosophical literature, Mekawei’s compositions convey concepts through sophisticated sound practices, translating musical conversations into visual forms. Sama takes the form of a call and response between Haq and Mekawei, with video work by Anum Awan and Amy Alexander.

Steeped in floral fragrance, the immersive experience invites us to participate in sama – an act which, through deep listening and meditation, creates a connection to the divine and is common in Sufi dargahs (shrines). Sama: The Divine Listening Room is a sonic sculpture,  connecting and bridging cultural narratives and recreating the idea of homes and sacred spaces in the diaspora – in other words, among those population groups that voluntarily or involuntarily live outside their home countries. 

Sama: The Divine Listening Room is series-in-progress of installations by Arshia Fatima Haq, which she started in 2015.

About Arshia Fatima Haq

Arshia Fatima Haq is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work features film, visual art, performance and sound. She deploys speculative narratives and is currently exploring themes of embodiment, mysticism, and indigenous and localised Sufi knowledge.

Haq is also the founder of Discostan, a decolonial project and record label that works with cultural production from South and West Asia, and North Africa. Her projects have been presented nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, nightclubs and on the streets, and have been shown at the Broad Museum, LACE, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art and Toronto International Film Festival, among others.

About Yara Mekawei

Yara Mekawei (EG) is a Berlin-based sound artist. Based on her interest in the philosophy of architecture, social history and philosophical literature, she creates sonic bricolages, drawing inspiration from the dynamic flow of urban centres and the key infrastructure of cities. Mekawei translates the optical transaction of the musical conversation into visual forms. Her work is based on sound as an essential visual tool, and her philosophy of composition is shaped by sophisticated practices that convey concepts.

Sama: The Divine Listening Room is presented by Onassis Cultural Centre, SPOR Festival, Ultima, Wilde Westen and hcmf// as part of the Sounds Now project.

Photo credits: Yumna Al-Arashi

Sama at SPOR Festival

Sama at Ultima