Customs Made: Quotidian Practices and Everyday Rituals

March 12-May 12, 2014, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE

Curated by: Livia Alexander & Nat Muller


Devotional, personal, prescribed, subversive or self-invented, our everyday rituals breathe identity, belonging, community, and a sense of order into our daily lives. Artistic engagement with everyday rituals provides a fascinating lens onto contemporary society’s changing landscape, conferring a wealth of stories, bestowing individuals with the power to carve out not only autonomous spaces of agency and self expression, but also to forge new communities of belonging in a rapidly changing urban and globalized environment.

The MENASA region in particular has undergone major transformations in the past decades, witnessing rapid urbanization, changing economies and new political alliances. Customs Made seeks to explore the interstitial spaces where past meets present, where the contemporary experience in its ever-expanding human mosaic finds its muse and inspiration, and oscillates between the repetitive structures of ritual and that of self-expression. 

The artists in Customs Made incorporate quotidian practices and everyday rituals to blur the boundaries between art and life, between the prescribed and the personal, often disrupting order and sequence. Yet ritual is also intertwined with a broad spectrum of everyday practices, reinforcing the comfort of the familiar, from spiritual meditative routines, daily physical activities, superstitious repetitions, to mundane but necessary household chores.


Participating artists: Taysir Batniji, Cevdet Erek, Shilpa Gupta, Nilbar Güreş, Mahmoud Obaidi, Mohamed Sharkawy, Rayyane Tabet and Raed Yassin.

Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Taysir Batniji, Hannoun (1972-2009)
Exhibition view
Rayyane Tabet, Fire/Cast/Draw (2013)
Shilpa Gupta, 100 Queues (2008)