Quilliam Foundation, the world’s first counter-extremism think tank, and Free Word, an international centre for literature, literacy and free expression, have partnered to present The unbreakable rope: an exploration of sexuality in Islam at Free Word Centre from 10 March to 8 June 2016 (open 9am – 9pm, Monday – Friday). The unbreakable rope brings together the works of 10 international artists who examine issues surrounding the diversity of sexuality in Islam through themes of memory, sensuality and identity.
Running alongside theatrical and immersive events as part of Quilliam's first creative programme, the Season of #Solidarity, concentrated from 27 April to 8 June 2016 at multiple venues in London, The unbreakable rope aligns with Free Word's Unravelling Europe, a series that puts artists at the centre of conversations about Europe's changing identity, alongside thinkers and speakers from other disciplines. Against a backdrop of increasing fragmentation fuelled by anxiety and fear, the conditions and values that underpin our open, democratic societies are under threat. Unravelling Europe will ask how we can better comprehend the complexities at play in order to 're-stitch' the fabric essential to the flourishing of a truly democratic Europe. Read more on the Free Word website here.
Inspired by Love in Bloom, an eighth century classical, erotic Arabic poem by Abu Nuwas, The unbreakable rope explores diverse sexual orientations within Islamic cultures, past, present and future. The exhibition illuminates sexual plurality as existing in conservative and progressive societies, incorporating historical reference points from all over the world to debunk the myth that non-heteronormative identity is a modern or Western construct. By employing a wide range of media, perspectives and voices from both East and West, the show will encourage intercultural dialogue and understanding around sexuality as a spectrum, through the self-critical platform of art.