Shai Chishty is a London based Documentary Photographer. Currently studying for a Masters in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, Shai is developing her conceptual practice exploring identity and notions of ‘otherness’.
Mecca-hattan is a conceptual body of work using cut and paste technique. It represents a perspective many Muslims hold on Saudi Arabia's current $60 billion Mecca expansion plans. The Muslim world remains divided about the expansion as up to 500 sites of historical importance are said to have been demolished to make way for luxury hotels, malls and the world’s third largest clock tower, including the homes of key figures in Islamic history. The Saudi state maintains that expansion is necessary, but many Muslims disagree and are renaming the spiritual hub ‘Mecca-hattan’, calling the changes ‘cultural vandalism’. This project embodies this view. We see the Kaba, the black box built by the prophet Abraham and which Muslims pray towards each day, superimposed onto places that aren't dissimilar to how many perceive Mecca today. The expansion project continues and despite not being complete, to many, Mecca, once a sacred and spiritual place, is already transformed beyond recognition.
- Shai Chishty