This book offers a visual celebration of the Islamic pilgrimage on house facades all over Egypt. Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca, has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world. Egyptian pilgrims traditionally celebrate their sacred journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious odyssey on the walls of their homes. "Hajj Paintings" is the first visual record of the richness and variety of this naive art form. Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spent a decade exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories to mud-brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated by the desert sun, portraying beloved icons of the pilgrims' faith and scenes from the Qur'an. Their nearly 150 color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the radiant palette of the mostly self-taught artists.
ANN PARKER is an award-winning photographer, whose latest book is Twilight Visions in Egypt's Nile Delta (AUC Press, 2008). She collaborated with writer AVON NEAL, who specialized in international folk art topics, on several books.