Journeys of Mindfulness
Preventing road accidents with the power of Islamic art.
Despite being a time to slow down, Ramadan sees an increase in road accidents.
The Holy Month of Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and abstinence. Every year sees millions fast for over 14 hours a day.
2022 saw traffic accidents increase by 62% in the first ten days of this period compared to last year. This was attributed to a loss of focus and presence of mind, as drivers who have been abstaining since dawn try making the journey home as quickly as possible to break their fast. Concentration is lost when driving during peak hours in this fatigued state, increasing the likelihood of accidents occuring.
Journeys of Mindfulness combines art and sound to help drivers feel grounded before navigating challenging roads.
Journeys of Mindfulness tapped into the centuries-old mediative power of Islamic art to create a series of multi-sensory, contemplative artworks. An accompanying digital activation encourages drivers to seek moments of calm before they begin driving.
For generations, sacred Islamic geometry and its tessellating forms have been used as a tool for personal and spiritual growth. AKQA turned these patterns – traditionally drawn by hand – into a series of infinitely repeating, contemporary artworks and abstract demonstrations of mindful driving.
Inspired by distinct Islamic art practices, architecture, calligraphy, floral painting and poetry, four mesmerising artworks commemorate every week of Ramadan. Each piece’s rhythmic linear patterns, ever-changing gradients of colour and calming aural chords gently wash over drivers, moving them into a space of awareness and calm. By soothing anxiety and tension from the day’s abstinence, drivers could focus, relax and drive home with care.
منبع القوة — The Dawn of Strength
A modern interpretation of Islamic geometry and a representation of mental fortitude. Inspired by the architecturally strongest mosque, an eight-sided structure ascending to a circular dome, the piece features an octagonal base that forever shifts into a circular crown. The resulting polygons, stars and diamonds create a hypnotic effect and an atmosphere for spiritual reflection.
توازن — Balance
Also called Tawazun, the artwork is inspired by Islamic calligraphy. This contemporary expression is a tribute to the incredible balance struck by ancient calligraphers, between precisely conveying text and expressing the purity of its meaning through a formal design system. This piece inspires precision of movement and clarity of thought before driving.
تأملات في الجمال — These Wanderings of Beauty
A blissful piece inspired by biomorphic (arabesque) design, the practice of replicating floral motifs and interlacing foliage. It is drawn from the belief that the beauty of the natural world is of the highest order. The piece guides you through spiralling suggestions of nature to relieve stress and remind the viewer of their beauty in the natural world.
نفس — Nafas/Breath
Inspired by Islamic poetry. The multi-sensory artwork is the last in the series and is based on the rhythm of the spoken word. Its motion design is inspired by the verbal gaits of the great Sufi poetry masters. The piece is intended to move you through inhalation and exhalation to a place of awakening and contemplation.
The digital artworks were showcased on social media, accompanied by a dedicated set of multimedia content. These included soothing Spotify playlists, guest-curated by wellness influencers, reflective quotes, breathing exercises, self-care practices and guidebooks. The set came together as a themed Journey of Mindfulness.
Every Journey was then released just before potential peak accident hours to match the times people left their homes and offices.
Digital screens on Sheikh Zayed Road, the busiest highway in the nation, were turned into thoughtful public service announcements during peak rush hours, cautioning drivers to be mindful.
An artistic reminder to move mindfully.
The message of mindful driving spread fast through word of mouth and an immersive social media campaign, securing a 1.8 million reach while reminding more drivers than ever to move with care and consideration.
In a time where mindfulness is seen as an imported concept from the West, the contemporary transformation of Islamic art was lauded as a timely return to sources of calmness within the region’s heritage.