APT8 Cinema: Pop Islam

22 Nov 2015 – 10 Apr 2016 | GOMA | Cinema A

Presented as part of 'The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art'

'Pop Islam' is a cinema project that explores representations of Islam in contemporary film, documentary and video art. The reach is global, stretching from Australia and South-East Asia, through the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa, while also visiting communities in Central Asia, Europe and North America. Co-curated with Australian-Lebanese artist Khaled Sabsabi, it seeks to demonstrate diverse experiences and opinion for the more than 20 per cent of the world's population who are practising Muslims.

While 'Pop Islam' is located within the present, Islamic popular culture is not a recent concept. Aspects of its beliefs, customs and ideals have a discursive tradition inspiring art, music, literature and cinema of broad appeal. The works in 'Pop Islam', however, reveal expressions derived from a networked culture in which satellite television serials are infused with moral subtext; fashion magazines integrate Islamic sartorialism with Western commercialism; and revolutions begin on Facebook. The contemporary Islamic world revealed in 'Pop Islam' is one where young people in particular, shape their own distinct version of religious practices and institutions and re-imagine their possibilities.

'Pop Islam' exists at a time when religion continues to be a polarising subject in media and politics, and differing interpretations of Islamic ideals feed division and violence globally. It seeks to offer local audiences a more nuanced representation of contemporary Islam and considers some of the recurring ideas explored by artists and filmmakers throughout the region, such as an unease between tradition and secularism and national and religious identities, and the experience of spirituality within the tapestry of everyday life and specific contexts of religious and cultural pluralism. Consumed at the level of entertainment, these works have a deeper resonance, revealing alternative ways in which Islam is practiced and exists side-by-side with other secular lifestyles.

Khaled Sabsabi is an Australian artist working in video and installation. Since the late 1980s he has engaged communities to develop projects that reflect the complex nature of culture and identity in particular, the global connections between people and places facilitated by history, migration and technology.


Ar-risâlah (The Message) 1976 | Dir. Moustapha Akkad
Muhammad: The Messenger of God 2015 | Dir. Majid Majidi


Le Grand Voyage 2004 | Dir. Ismaël Ferroukhi
Rindu Kami Padamu (Of Love and Eggs) 2004 | Dir. Garin Nugroho
Beş Vakit (Times and Winds) 2006 | Dir. Reha Erdem
Takva (Takva: A Man's Fear of God) 2006 | Dir. Özer Kiziltan
Halal Mate 2007 | Dir. David Batty, Claudia Rowe
Keshtzarhaye sepid (The White Meadows) 2009 | Dir. Mohammad Rasoulof
Bal (Honey) 2010 | Dir. Semih Kaplanoğlu
Na putu (On the Path) 2010 | Dir. Jasmila Žbanić
Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu, Son of Adam) 2011 | Dir. Salim Ahamed
Qurban (Sacrifice) 2011 | Dir. Anar Abbasov
Qiyamah (The Reckoning) 2012 | Dir. Gutierrez Mangansakan II
Hams al moodun (Whispers of the Cities) 2013 | Dir. Kasim Abid
Chilla (40 Days of Silence) 2014 | Dir. Saodat Ismailova
Nabat 2014 | Dir. Elchin Musaoglu
A Sinner in Mecca 2015 Dir. Parvez Sharma
Torsions II 2015 | Dir. Omar Chowdhury


La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers) 1966 | Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo
Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel 2003 | Dir. Michel Khleifi, Eyal Sivan
Marmoulak (The Lizard) 2004 | Dir. Kamal Tabrizi
Hamburger Lektionen (Hamburg Lectures) 2006 | Dir. Romuald Karmakar
Ea'adat khalk (Recycle) 2007 | Dir. Mahmoud Al Massad
The Green Wave 2010 | Dir. Ali Samadi Ahadi
Les chevaux de Dieu (Horses of God) 2012 | Dir. Nabil Ayouch
Karama Has No Walls 2012 | Dir. Sara Ishaq
Mata tertutup (The Blindfold) 2012 | Dir. Garin Nugroho
Al midan (The Square) 2013 | Dir. Jehane Noujaim
Iranien (Iranian) 2014 | Dir. Mehran Tamadon
Timbuktu 2014 | Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako
Among The Believers 2015 | Dir. Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Naqvi
Locus, Mosque 2015 | Dir. Omar Chowdhury


Lalsalu (A Tree Without Roots) 2001 | Dir. Tanvir Mokammel
Roozi ke zan shodam (The Day I Became a Woman) 2000 | Dir. Marziyeh Meshkini
Panj é asr‎ (At Five in the Afternoon) 2003 | Dir. Samira Makhmalbaf
Moolaadé 2004 | Dir. Ousmane Sembène
Dunia (Kiss Me Not on the Eyes) 2005 | Dir. Jocelyne Saab
Offside 2005 | Dir. Jafar Panahi
Persepolis 2007 | Dir. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Adhen (Dernier Maquis) 2008 | Dir. Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche
Ayat-Ayat Cinta (Verses of Love) 2008 | Dir. Hanung Bramantyo
Muallaf (The Convert) 2008 | Dir. Yasmin Ahmad
Afghan Star 2009 | Dir. Havana Marking
New Muslim Cool 2009 | Dir. Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
My Name is Khan 2010 | Dir. Karan Johar
Shahada 2010 | Dir. Burhan Qurbani
The Taqwacores 2010 | Dir. Eyad Zahra
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation) 2011 | Dir. Asghar Farhadi
Ni Allah, Ni Maïtre! (Neither Allah, Nor Master!) 2011 | Dir. Nadia El Fani
Television 2012 | Dir. Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Wadjda 2012 | Dir. Haifaa Al-Mansour
Snow in Paradise 2014 | Dir. Andrew Hulme