Exhibition to honour the role of Muslims in First World War

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Image captionPhoto from Luc Ferrier's book, The Unknown Fallen

As the centenary of the First World War armistice approaches, a Hammersmith exhibition takes a timely look at the forgotten role of Muslims in the devastating conflict… and there’s still time for artists of all faiths to contribute works.

The ‘Singularity of Peace’ exhibition runs at the Riverside Building in Manbre Road from 13 September to 4 October, with part of the show giving a free platform to 100 emerging artists.

Up to three million Muslims contributed to the Allied cause in the war, as soldiers and labourers, drawn from across Africa, India, the Far East, Middle East, Russia and the USA.

Art submissions are being welcomed right up to Tuesday 11 September, with Luc Ferrier, a 54-year-old Belgian researcher and founder of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, urging artists from all cultures and faiths to contribute.

“It was previously estimated that less than half a million Muslim soldiers participated in the conflict, but new research puts the figure closer to three million,” he said.

“With the simultaneous rise of the Far Right and Muslim extremism, and at a time when Europe and much of the world is besieged with conflict, we believe our exhibition has the potential to build new bridges, mend broken ones and open new dialogues.”


Image caption: The Unknown Fallen: Image taken in West Africa

The exhibition, organised with HF ArtsFest and the charity Uthink, has two parts. The first gives artists under 30 a chance to display work via the website www.singularityofpeace.com. The second draws on Ferrier’s book, The Unknown Fallen, to document the role of forgotten soldiers in the bloody conflict.

Ferrier began his research seven years ago after stumbling upon his grandfather’s war journal. The trail took him to 19 countries, unearthing a total of 850,000 letters and reports telling the tale of Muslims’ part in the war.

WWI contribution

H&F Council Deputy Leader Cllr Sue Fennimore, said she hoped that as many residents as possible would get to the exhibition.

“This show recognises the contribution made by so many Muslim soldiers in the First World War, and as the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict approaches it makes it all the more important to mark their largely overlooked role,” she said.

Muslim graves appear in many of the war cemeteries which dot northern France; the headstones distinguishable from others as they tilt eastwards towards Mecca.

Artists under 30 who want to submit works should do so digitally by emailing images to info@forgottenheroes1419.com, with one work per artist. While there are no restrictions on themes, aspects of war, peace, conflict, dialogue and inclusion should be present.

Hammersmith is the first location in a worldwide tour planned around Ferrier’s new book. The exhibition at the Riverside Building, Manbre Wharf, Manbre Road, W6, is free, and is open daily until 4 October from 10am-5.30pm.

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