Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts

a speaker on a floor covered with red carpet as part of the Prayer installation in the Djanogly Gallery, 2010, with two visitors blurry in the background


Prayer (Nottingham) was a sound installation produced for the Djanogly Gallery by South African artist James Webb in 2010. It consisted of over 45 recordings of prayers from different faith groups from this city, creating a rich aural tapestry of each person’s hopes, desires and entreaties. 

In visual terms the installation was perhaps the most minimal we have ever shown in the gallery consisting of one large red carpet with 12 floor-based speakers sending up ‘fountains’ of sound. Visitors could wander freely through the installation listening to the polyphony of voices or, alternatively, kneel down to listen to individual prayers.

Prayer was first created for Cape Town in 2000, five years after the end of apartheid. Whereas apartheid imposed segregation, James created a work that was emphatically about bringing people together. Since then the project has been realised in cities across the world.  

We are extremely grateful to James (currently living in Stockholm) for very generously re-editing the original audio files and allowing us to exhibit this online version of Prayer (Nottingham). We would also like to thank all those who took part and who literally put their faith in the project.      

Names of those who contributed their prayers:

Ashley Mortimer (The Centre For Pagan Studies)
Pastor Joan Richards (Elohim Ministries)
Rabbi Moshe Perez (Nottingham Hebrew Congregation)
Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich (Nottingham Progressive Jewish Congregation)
Surinder Kaur Samra (Nottingham Interfaith Council)
Congregation members (Chasewood Baptist Church)
Ghufran Shah (Karimia Institute)
Musarrat Tariq (Multi-Faith Centre, Queens Medical Hospital)
Pandit Anil Randev (Hindu Priest, Bhagwati Shakti Peeth)
Soka Gakkai International, Nottingham
Canon John Bentham (Co-ordinating Chaplain, University of Nottingham)

a photo of James Webb Prayer installatino in the Djanogly Gallery: a red carpet with 12 floor based speakers


Photos: Nick Dunmur, 2010

To read more about James Webb's work, visit his website.