The success of the Hussain Legacy exhibition in London left many of us speechless. For those that had the chance to visit, they were left with a deep appreciation for the work produced and though representations of the tragedy of Karbala will always pale in comparison, the exhibition left us in awe. It left us craving more.
With this, the organisers of such a successful exhibition have risen to the occasion and have created a new one: the aftermath of the aftermath of Karbala. In it, they document the journey of the Ahlulbayt who were taken as captives after Karbala and were paraded to Kufa, and then to Damascus, before making their journey back to Madinah. The exhibition starts off by documenting some of the stops made before bringing us back to the battlefield of Karbala, presented in miniature models form.
The next step takes us to how the women and children, led by Sayeda Zainab (as) towards the court of Yazid in Damascus. This may be the hardest of the scenes to take in, seeing the lone figure of Sayeda Zainab (as) facing the tyrant. The road takes us to see Imam Zainul Abideen (as), leaning in sujood – prostration – while the walls and ceiling are adorned with the chains that bound his wrists during the journey.
The walls are splattered with blood, echoing the reality of what transpired in Karbala 1400 years ago. They remind us that what happened in the past is the very message that has shaped our history and what makes up our faith; without the message of Aba Abdillah (as), we would not know Islam as we do today.
I would strongly recommend for everyone to make the effort to visit it and taken in the most cathartic of experiences, especially as we are now in the time of Arba’een.