Religious freedom in sacred architecture
Vienna, Graz and Isfahan

20/10 – 06/11/2021

curated by  Negar Hakim, Azadeh Hariri and Meghedy Khodabakhshian


Opening: Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 6 pm

Venue: philomena+ project room, Heinestraße 40, 1020 Vienna

Bethlehem Church Isfahan © Sara Taghizadeh, philomena+

With its new project „Visual Codes“, philomena+ presents sacred buildings in Diaspora while posing the question of whether religious freedom can be equated to architectural freedom.

The visibility of representative buildings in host countries, especially within the 21st century, has often times led to social and political dispute. In particular over the recent past, churches in non-Christian countries, as well as mosques in western host countries triggered heated discussions, provoking discontent amongst the immigrant and local population. 

This exhibition aims to stimulate reflection on the possibilities of sacred architecture in Diaspora and its potential role as bearer of peace in social and political conflicts as well as potentially being a positive complementation to the cityscape. 

The centerpiece of the exhibition are two churches in Isfahan, one mosque in Vienna and the islamic Cultural Center in Graz. The city of Isfahan in Central Iran is home to 5000 Christians, albeit its population of 1.9 million. On the contrary, Vienna, with a similar total population, is home to 120.000 believing muslims, while Graz, with a much smaller population, counts approximately 20.000 believing muslims. 

In general the question is raised, if by comparing, communicating and exchanging knowledge our mutual understanding can be improved, which consequently will lead onto a better path?

The photos of the exhibition, taken by various photographers, invite visitors to form an opinion on how the immigrant population envisions their religious and spiritual spaces, and also, why sacred architecture in Diaspora is particularly vulnerable to conflicts.

In cooperation with 
Supported by