Shared Sacred Sites

The "Shared Sacred Sites" exhibition examines a diverse range of locations in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans where the three Abrahamic religions have coexisted. The sites represented in the exhibition are examples from a vast geographic territory that spans from France to Morocco to Turkey to Egypt. The project argues that cross-cultural co-existence has been a viable way forward, out of the essentialism, isolationism, and hatred that have often come to characterize the present day.

Despite theological differences, the three religions share a number of elements in terms of beliefs, rites, holy figures and sites. These crossovers, however, are not devoid of ambiguity and can sometimes also lead to conflict. The Mediterranean world thus offers many examples of sharing, but also of partition and division.

"Shared Sacred Sites" explores this phenomenon by locating it through various examples in different contexts and by highlighting the entangled places and practices, symbols and figures that define it. Istanbul is ideally positioned to tell the story of "Shared Sacred Sites", not only because the three monotheistic religions have historically flourished here but also cohabited for centuries through the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

By combining contemporary art, photography, ethnographic material and digital media, the exhibition highlights the multisensory experience of pilgrimage and "sharing the sacred", the visually compelling dimension of sacred sites and landscapes in the Balkans and the Mediterranean and Istanbul's rich and multi-layered past of religious diversity and co-existence.

Based on years of anthropological and historical research, the multifaceted "Shared Sacred Sites" project is characterized by a rewriting in each iteration of the exhibition – a "pilgrimage", in and of itself. Indeed, the overall topic remains the same, but form, content, and context change from one location to another. Versions of this exhibition were first held at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Mucem) in Marseille (2015), then at the Bardo Museum in Tunis (2016), Paris (2017), Thessaloniki (2017), Marrakesh (2018) and New York (2018). The exhibition will be opening in Ankara (Cer Modern) in April 2020.

This exhibition was realized with the support of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and French Cultural Center.
Dionigi Albera & Manoël Pénicaud

Saima Altunkaya / Hüsniye Ateş / Benji Boyadgian / Hera Büyüktaşçıyan / Manuel Çıtak / Ekrem Ekşi / Thierry Fournier / Giampaolo Galenda / Emrah Gökdemir / Nele Gülck & Nikolai Antoniadis / Engin Irız / Noha Ibrahim Jabbour / Robert Jankuloski / İzzet Keribar / Cynthia Madansky / Marco Maione / Jean-Luc Manaud / Diana Markosian / Cécile Massie / Andrea Merli / Ayşe Özalp / Manoël Pénicaud / Nira Pereg / Guy Raivitz / Sarkis / Gildas Sergé / Cemal Taş / Hale Tenger / Francesco Tuccio / Gençer Yurttaş

Dilşa Deniz / Sébastien de Courtois / Aylin de Tapia / Marion Lecoquierre / Jens Kreinath / Elizabeta Koneska / Sara Kuehn / Yael Navaro / Antonio Pusceddu

Collections and Archives
C-Album / Dirimart / Gamma-Rapho / Gemäldegalerie / Getty Research Institute / Houshamadyan / IDEMEC-CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université / İstanbul Üniversitesi Nadir Eserler Kütüphanesi / Library of Congress / Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (Mucem) / The National Gallery / The New York Public Library / SATIS, Aix-Marseille Université

Exhibition Coordinator
Veli Başyiğit

Exhibition Design

Exhibition Production

Exhibition Installation
Depo / Fiksatif

Aslı Çetinkaya / Feride Eralp / Gülşah Mursaloğlu / Céline Pierre-Magnani / Mert Sarısu

Video Subtitles
Gökçe İnce

Booklet Printing
Ofset Yapımevi

Special thanks to
Yorgo Benlisoy / Tanıl Bora / Ceren Erdem / Fulya Erdemci / Goethe-Institut Istanbul / Sibel Horada / Çiçek İlengiz / IDEMEC-CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université / İstanbul Kültür Sanat Vakfı (İKSV) / Stergios Karavatos / Hagop Emir Kazancıyan / Declan Kiely / Silvina Der-Meguerditchian / Musée des civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (Mucem) / Çağla Parlak / Faruk Pekin / Nilüfer Saltık / Anna Vakali / Dorothee Vakalis / Laki Vingas