Noel BowlerApril 16, 2012 by admin • Alumni
Born in Dublin in 1978, Noel Bowler first studied photography at Sallynoggin College and received a B.A. in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales Newport in 2003. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Gallery of Photography’s Artist Award. He received the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Per Cent for Art Award in 2008 and he was nominated by the Gallery of Photography for the AIB Art Prize in 2010. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2009. He is currently studying a MFA Photography at the University of Ulster.
Making Space | Noel Bowler
Making Space is a timely exploration of the expansion and coexistence of the Islamic faith in contemporary Ireland. Taken over the course of two years, the exhibition records the adaptive reuse of spaces for the purpose of prayer by diverse Islamic communities across Ireland.
Bowler reveals the quiet transformation of everyday spaces in urban, residential and rural locations. He records how private homes, warehouses, office spaces, and industrial units are being turned into spaces for prayer, providing a unique record of a major, though not widely acknowledged, change in Ireland’s built environment.
There is a calmness and informality in Bowler’s portraits of these spaces. Devoid of any distinction or ornamentation apart from the ubiquitous prayer rugs, the photographs reveal a central quality of Islamic faith – that during sallah (prayer) there is nothing between one’s self and the divine.
Bowler’s work is a timely counterpoint to contemporary global culture’s paranoia concerning the spread of Islam.With a subtle, pared-back aesthetic, Bowler’s photographs are straightforward and without ostentation. They testify to the simple ways in which spiritual life can develop within ordinary, everyday settings.