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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“Searching for Light” exihibition opens its doors in Saudi Arabia

Peter Sanders takes viewers on a visual odyssey, featuring around 100 photographs that span over 55 years and 40 countries.

In the heart of Dhahran, at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra, a transformative exhibition titled “Searching for Light” opened its doors on Saturday. Renowned photographer Peter Sanders takes viewers on a visual odyssey, featuring around 100 photographs that span over 55 years and 40 countries. This major retrospective captures Sanders’ evolution from photographing 1960s music icons to intimately documenting Islam and his personal journey of enlightenment.

From Music Icons to Islamic Spaces

Sanders, initially known for capturing the essence of music icons like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, transitioned to a profound exploration of Islam in the 1970s. The exhibition provides a poignant insight into the traditional world of Islam, coupled with Sanders’ own quest for light. The photographs are not just a collection but a narrative that transcends time and place.

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Empathetic Vision

Described as a “deeply empathetic vision” by the center, Sanders’ work offers an intimate view into diverse places, races, and traditions. His lens reflects the beauty of the traditional Islamic world and narrates a universal journey from childhood to old age. The exhibition encourages viewers to take a step back and appreciate the interconnectedness of all human experiences.

Transformative Moment in Makkah

Sanders’ transformative moment came in 1972 when he captured an image of the Haram in Makkah. The photograph depicted pilgrims, draped in white cloths, resembling a pearl necklace around the house of God. This experience marked a turning point in his life, propelling him to embark on a visual journey that spans continents and cultures.

Distinct Style and Perspective

Sanders’ photographic style is characterized by its cleanliness and intimacy. Despite his aversion to heights, many of his images were taken from above, offering a unique perspective. His distinctive approach is evident in the images showcased at Ithra’s Gallery 3, inviting visitors to witness the world through his lens.

“Hijrah” and the Sacred Journey

Sanders’ images were included in Ithra’s first-ever traveling exhibition in 2022, titled “Hijrah.” This exhibition documented the 400 km journey between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, following the path of Prophet Muhammad. Collaborating with Dr. Abdullah Hussein Alkadi, an expert in urban and regional planning, Sanders contributed to capturing the sacred journey through imagery and text.

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The curator of the “Hijrah” offerings at Ithra, Dr. Idries Trevathan, emphasizes the enduring relevance of Sanders’ work in today’s turbulent times. In a world oversaturated with digital imagery, Sanders’ photographs stand out as genuine and real, capturing the essence of people and places. Trevathan believes that, in the face of visual oversaturation, Sanders’ work remains more important than ever.