The Passage of Wishes is a hanging installation made of thousands of Pakistani wish lockets, 
all forming the shape of an Islamic architectural passage. Each locket contains a unique selfless wish handwritten by a child.


In early 2015, the Children’s Museum Of Manhattan (CMOM) approached Bolo (Qinza Najm and myself) for a proposal for their new exhibit: From America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near & Far’.  As artists and as parents, we were excited.

Our aim is to create a sense of empathy in children in a simple & interactive way. We are exploring the notions of selflessness and self-awareness by using Pakistani wish lockets and giving them a new function. Now, no longer suspended as lockets, they form a loose architecture of sorts inspired by Islamic architecture. Both Bolo and CMOM is looking forward to unveiling this installation in the museum entrance in February 2016, where it will remain for 3 years. 


In the Passage of Wishes, we take the centuries-old Sub-Continental wish locket and reimagine it in a contemporary and interactive manner. Museum visitors will be offered hand-dyed paper (made by the artists with children), on which they write an entirely selfless and empathetic wish for someone or something they deeply care about.  Children can also interact with the installation online by submitting a selfless wish through our Facebook page ‘The Passage of Wishes’.

The wishes, written or printed on a blue paper, are folded and placed inside the lockets, like wings. With about 25,000 lockets hanging from the ceiling, the installation takes the Islamic architectural shape of a passage or entrance. This site-specific installation will hang in the entrance of the museum and can be experienced from both the entrance as well as the mezzanine balcony and walkway. The wishes will be viewable online and on digital displays at the museum.


Museum entrance lobby

Museum entrance lobby

Mezzanine balcony view

Mezzanine balcony view

Getting kids to experience empathy and selflessness is important. There’s a real lack of it in our societies today. There is an abundance of hatred and misunderstanding towards Muslim culture. We believe the only way to fight this is with co-existence and tolerance, and that can only come with empathy.


DONATE TO THE INSTALLATION.  This installation of approximately 25,000 lockets is an exercise in precision. The lockets themselves will need to be freight shipped from Pakistan. The team will include an architect, a fabricator, an art installer and some assistants. The cost of creation is $25,000.

Bolo needs your help to turn this installation into a reality. Please donate, even if it's a dollar!