Until recent years, the front room in a Muslim household has been an integral part of the home. Usually designated as the guests’ and/or ‘prayer’ room, it has become a collection of both Islamic and cultural artefacts collected over decades as well as a reflection of the lives of the migrant settlers of the sixties and beyond, with some rooms still decorated with wallpaper and colour palettes from bygone eras. Its appearance has been telling of transitions through generations in style, faith and cultures.

Now, however, a new generational revolution is seeing an end to the chintz, gilding, glitter and ‘kitsch’ trinkets that adorned walls, shelves and mantelpieces to a more sedate, ‘modern’, style of minimalism – whether a commissioned fine art piece or an off-the-shelf canvas print and décor. Changes in society, family roles and work patterns have undoubtedly added to the shift in both our style of home décor and the function of the front room reflects these changes and has become a more multi-purpose living area.

Nevertheless, from a second generation Muslim‘s perspective, the ‘Muslim Front Room’ exhibition looks at the transformation of this room from an unashamedly nostalgic and perhaps a little hypocritical perspective: I was once guilty of ‘sanitising’ my parent‘s home décor until I realised that I was stripping away an identity that eventually the younger generations would not be able to relate to in their respective lives.

This exhibition looks at not only the personal attachment to home décor, but also at their historical aspects, their significance to Muslims and how styles and sentiments can vary from culture to culture and between generations.

Visit the exhibition at :

Vestry House Museum
Vestry Road Walthamstow
E17 9NH

Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
020 8496 4391


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