Unbreakable Rope – An exploration of sexuality in Islam

We recently collaborated with talented photojournalist Lisa Bretherick to help her produce a new photo essay for Unbreakable Rope – an exhibition being launched in London exploring sexuality, homosexuality and sexual diversity within Islam over past centuries and modern day.

Lisa has documented Matt & Naz’s journey tirelessly over the last 18 months to help raise awareness of our organisation’s cause.

The photo essay, using black and white photography and a voiceover by Matt, explores some of Matt’s memories of Naz and his fear of losing them.

Alongside is a display of photos taken in August 2014 during a day long celebration of Naz’s life. The images are both celebratory yet extremely touching in their sadness.

The Unbreakable Rope was commissioned by artistic director of Quilliam Foundation, Nazish Khan, and curated by artist & curator Rachel Maggart and art historian/writer Harry Seymour. The three month exhibition features the work of nine other contemporary artists from around the world, including Farah Ossouli, Faiza Butt, Soody Sharifi, Sarah Maple and Ibi Ibrahim,  Tareq de Montfort,  Alison Butler / Shane Winter, Rachel Maggart and is being held at the Free Word Centre, a charitable venue that promotes free speech.

The unique works on display range from photography, painting, colour work and also performance art – all are available to view until June 2016.

On the show’s opening night, prominent Muslim Drag Queen, Seemaa Butt (also known as Naazim) conducted a beautiful reading of a poem that she had wrote and submitted to Naz and Matt Foundation in 2014, soon after Naz sadly took his own life.

“I’m sorry” is both challenging, and yet apologetic, touching on the parallels between their two lives. Both of them shared the same first name and were born into the same religion. The aim of the poem is to raise visibility of the irreversible damage caused by religious and cultural homophobia.

I'm Sorry - by Seemaa Butt
“I’m Sorry” – Poem written and read by Seemaa Butt

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Exhibition Review:

Candid Magazine’s review of “The Unbreakable Rope”
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Event Details

The Unbreakable Rope: an exploration of sexuality in Islam.

Location: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA. [view map]

Date of exhibition: 10 March – 8 June 2016.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm.

Admission: Free.

http://www.unbreakablerope.com

Matt set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in memory of his soulmate and fiancé, Naz, who passed away two days after being confronted about his sexuality by his religious parents. It was the first time that they knew their son was gay, in a relationship with Matt for 13 years and that they were planning to get married.

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