Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the year and the most important month for the Shia Muslim community as it commemorates the death of Imam Hussein and members of his family (in 680 AD). Multiple events and processions take place across various locations recounting tragic stories including the hostage-taking of his young family as prisoners of war, in the days leading to the 10th day – ‘Ashura’.
The atmosphere in the Manama streets and certain predominantly Shia villages changes just prior and during Muharram as religious artwork, life-size staged scenes and black flags mark areas. The mourning rituals and cultural aspects of the events that take place have always fascinated me as I am purely an observer; ‘an outsider’ looking in.
For about 6 years I have gone and documented the religious event of Ashura, as not only does it allow pure documentary and storytelling photography, but the sense of community, neighbourhoods’ working together, the generosity of strangers and even familiar faces, really moved me. In the couple of years pre-covid, I chose to experience it alone and met / talked to many people.