Drawings showing different views
Sketches and photo of the Dirndl Dress Mosque © Fotos: Rahkeen Gray und Azra Akšamija

Azra Akšamija

Dirndl Dress Mosque2005

Woman taking off the Dirndl Mosque

The Dirndl Dress Mosque is a modern dirndl that can be transformed into an Islamic prayer room for three people. The dirndl skirt is unfolded to form a prayer mat that is laid on the ground facing Mecca. A compass on the belt is used to determine the proper direction. The underside of the fabric is washable; the soft upper side, on which worshippers prostrate themselves, is worn folded against the body to ensure it remains clean. The shoulder scarf becomes a headscarf.

"Although the design attempts to redefine the mosque's traditional forms and functions in a contemporary context, the Dirndl Dress Mosque remains true to the liturgical rules of Islam. It is based on the assumption that mosques, as we know them today, exhibit only a few of the many possible formal interpretations of a basic theoretical definition. The idea of the 'world as a mosque' - originally expressed by the Prophet Mohammed - must be grasped, not merely as a formal description of space, but as a conceptual idea. In this context, the Dirndl Mosque interprets Islam as a dynamic process that can adapt to specific geographic and cultural conditions over time. Moreover, if the whole world can be a mosque, it follows that it is a world that embraces non-Muslims as well." (Azra Akšamija in the catalogue for the exhibition "How German is it? 30 Artists' Notion of Home")

The artist Azra Akšamija was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1976 and took on Austrian citizenship in 1997. She lives and works in Boston. The artist's website can be viewed at www.azraaksamija.net