Arts and Islam – Exhibits Roundup

Check out our new resource, advertising events in Islamic Studies. Each page focuses on specific types of events, including museum exhibits, conferences, and lectures, packaged as a convenient, one-stop shop for all related events. This page will be updated as new exhibits are announced and old exhibits end.

Upcoming:

Helen Zughaib: Migrations

M. F.  Hussain: Art and the Nation

Harmony: Aesthetics of Ornamentation in Emirati Heritage

Friends: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Peace: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Sanctuary: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Art, Minorities, and Social Change Art Exhibition

Cinderella, Sinbad & Sinuhe: Arabic-German Storytelling Traditions

A la Plume, au Pinceau, au Crayon: Dessins Dumond Arabe

Weekend Arabic Calligraphy Workshop with Elinor Aishah Holland – 2019

Wonderous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place

Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis

The Decorated Word: Writing and Picturing in Islamic Calligraphy- MET Museum

The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art

Qajar Ceramic: Bridging Tradition and Modernity

Dream and Trauma

Middle East Galleries at Penn Museum

Helen Zughaib: Migrations

Helen Zughaib: Migrations

23 May - 28 July 2019
Location: The President Woodrow Wilson House, Washington D.C. | Cost: Free

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I and created today’s borders in the Middle East that have affected geopolitics ever since. To mark this anniversary, the Wilson House features the most recent works by Beirut-born artist Helen Zughaib. Her Syrian Migration Series allows for an exploration of the contemporary consequences of the past century through the eye of the current Syrian conflict and the mass migration it has triggered. Zughaib’s series seeks to focus attention on the current Syrian crisis and give voice to those migrants and refugees affected, particularly women and children.
M. F. Husain: Art and the Nation

M. F. Husain: Art and the Nation

20 March - 4 August 2019
Location: Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY | Cost: 12 USD
One of the founding members of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, M.F. Husain, created the mural-sized painting Lightning for then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party public rally in 1975 in Bombay (Mumbai), the same year that a state of emergency was imposed across India. The twelve massive panels of Lightning are littered with visual references to India and the 1970s, and though absent visually, to Indira Gandhi. Ironically, by the 1970s, Husain’s alignments with the political leader resulted in the loss of support of some members of the intelligentsia and artistic community. In the following decades, the rise of the Hindu right closed off the artistic strategies that made Lightning possible for Husain, ultimately leading to his exile from India.
HARMONY: AESTHETICS OF ORNAMENTATION IN EMIRATI HERITAGE EXHIBITION

HARMONY: AESTHETICS OF ORNAMENTATION IN EMIRATI HERITAGE EXHIBITION

16 January - 14 August 2019
Location: Sharjah Heritage Museum, Sharjah UAE | Cost: 10 AED
Sharjah Heritage Museum is hosting an exhibition under the title “Harmony: Aesthetics of Ornamentation in Emirati Heritage”, which will host a collection of artworks by Emirati artist Muna Al Khajah. The artist’s work was inspired by ornamentation in Emirati heritage. The works feature decorative units of geometric and floral ornamentation in doors, windows and small spaces in walls and oriel windows. It is worth mentioning that these units are repeated beautifully and delicately on in women’s adornments, such as clothing and jewelry. The artist visually employed these decorative units, inspired from Emirati culture, in interchangeable relationships with the colored spaces in her artworks which are inspired by the natural environment. With the aim of reviving the beautiful details and preserving our authentic heritage, the exhibition encourages contemplation of the ornamentations’ details inspired by the ancient Emirati culture as well as absorbing its beauty.
Friends: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Friends: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

7 June - 15 August, 2019
Location: Swarthmore College, McCabe Library, Pennsylvania | Cost: Free
Swarthmore College Library presents Friends at Twelve Gates Arts. Friends, Peace, Sanctuary ~ an innovative project that creates fellowship and dialogue between recent immigrants to Philadelphia and their extended community ~ launched a series of exhibitions and events starting March 28, 2019 at Swarthmore College. Bringing together the stories of displaced people past and present through art, the exhibition brings work by resettled people and nationally known artists to Swarthmore, Philadelphia, and New York City, March through October 2019. A program of Swarthmore College Libraries and Swarthmore’s Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, Friends, Peace & Sanctuary explores art as a tool to build empathy and create a deeper sense of belonging. The exhibitions will introduce arts created by resettled Syrian and Iraqi individuals, as well as by commissioned artists, to open up conversations about displacement and refuge, history and experience, art and life. Too often, refugees are portrayed as a monolithic group. Friends, Peace, & Sanctuary seeks to change that perception through artwork that extends individual people’s stories beyond the label of refugee, as well as bringing current stories into conversation with archival materials. Project collaborators—Syrians and Iraqis who have resettled in the United States—learned book-arts skills such as bookbinding, paper cutting, silk screening, paper making, and photography, through workshops with professional book artists who also created works based on their interactions with collaborators.
Peace: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Peace: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

June 7 - Aug 2, 2019
Location: Parkway Central Library Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Cost: Free
Building mutual respect and friendships across cultures can forge a path to peace: a word that evokes rest, relaxation, quiet, safety and freedom from conflict. It also invokes action, activism, streets full of people demanding justice, or lively conversations about ways to move forward. Expressed through conversations and reflective artmaking, the feeling of peace is not simply living free of war in Syria or Iraq; it is a sensation that comes with being close to one’s support network of friends, family, and neighbors.
Sanctuary: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

Sanctuary: Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary

June 7 - July 26, 2019
Location: City Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Cost: Free
Informative and demanding, this exhibition showcases artworks that provoke and raise questions surrounding the process of resettlement to Philadelphia and the dynamics of power between the state, community, and the individual. Project collaborators who resettled from Syria and Iraq joined forces with commissioned book artists Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist to co-create collective and individual works that reflect both resiliency and challenges navigating Philadelphia to re-establish a quality of life they had at home. These works take the experiences of challenges faced with language, culture, translation, and access to create resources; assert personal dreams; and to help inform a more supportive process for new refugees. Challenge your understanding about what it means to resettle in a new country, where one’s identity has already been defined by negative media portrayals and stereotypes.
Art, Minorities, and Social Change Art Exhibition

Art, Minorities, and Social Change Art Exhibition

3 May - 15 August, 2019
Location: Cambridge, Massachusettes | Cost: Free
SoArt (Social Art) is an organization that brings together Young Iranian artists, and the way they share their vision of social change through art. Works from 50 Iranian artists will be on display May 3-August 15 in the CGIS South Concourse.
Cinderella, Sindbad & Sinuhe: Arabic-German Storytelling Traditions

Cinderella, Sindbad & Sinuhe: Arabic-German Storytelling Traditions

4 April - August 18 2019
Location: Neues Museum, Berlin Germany | Cost: 12 Eur
For the first time the Neues Museum (New Museum) is dedicating an exhibition to the rich cultural heritage of narrative traditions from ancient Egypt, the Arab world and Germany. The breadth of the trilingual exhibition (German/English/Arabic) stretches from ancient Egyptian papyruses to the tales of the Brothers Grimm, from the Arabian Nights to contemporary pop-up books and comics. Some 100 objects from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and various lenders shed fascinating light on a 4,000-year-old cultural history.
A la plume, au pinceau, au crayon: dessins du monde arabe

A la plume, au pinceau, au crayon: dessins du monde arabe

26 March - 9 September 2019
Location: Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France | Cost: 8 EUR
This exhibition uncovers hundreds of works from the collection of the Institut du Monde Arabe, recently enriched by a donation from Claude & France Lemand. These paintings, mostly figurative, date from the 11th century to today, with many shown for the first time. To dedicate an exhibition to drawing is to (re)discover the immense diversity of art, sometimes monochrome, sometimes figurative, sometimes informal, even “abstract” as it is described in the West.
Weekend Arabic Calligraphy Workshop with Elinor Aishah Holland - 2019

Weekend Arabic Calligraphy Workshop with Elinor Aishah Holland - 2019

16 March, 2019 22 June 2019 & 28 September 2019
Location: Diyanet Center of America, Lanham, Maryland | Cost: 65 USD
Thuluth is one of the oldest and most popular script in the Arabic calligraphic tradition. Using authentic tools we will delve into the letterforms using the historic method first developed in Baghdad during the 11th century and later refined during the Ottoman period.
Wonderous World: Art & Islam Through Time & Place

Wonderous World: Art & Islam Through Time & Place

23 June - 6 October, 2019
Location: Phillbrook Tulsa, Oklahoma | Cost: 9 USD
Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam through Time & Place, the most extensive exhibition of Islamic art to be shown in Oklahoma, represents over 1200 years of rich artistic creation, illustrating the great geographic expanse of the Islamic world.
Organized around five themes—architecture, hospitality, clothing, the art of writing, and cross-cultural exchange—the exhibition allows visitors to discover objects made from a wide variety of materials including ornately decorated clothing and textiles, elaborate jewelry and metalwork, and ornamented ceramics and furniture. Contemporary sculpture, photographs, and paintings show how artists today are exploring historic traditions to create innovative new work.
Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis

Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis

11 October - 21 October 2019
Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York | Cost: 65 USD
In 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art began to excavate late-antique sites in the Kharga Oasis, located in Egypt’s Western Desert. The Museum’s archaeologists uncovered two-story houses, painted tombs, and a church. They also retrieved objects that reveal the multiple cultural and religious identities of the people who lived in the region. The finds represent a society between the third and seventh centuries A.D., a time of transition between the Roman and early Byzantine periods, which integrated Egyptian, Greek, and Roman culture and art. This exhibition features some thirty works from these excavations. By grouping objects according to the archaeological context in which they were discovered, the exhibition explores the interpretation of ancient identities and artifacts and shows how archaeological documentation can assist in understanding an object’s original function. On view are ceramics, ostraca (pottery shards used as writing surfaces), jewelry from burials, glassware, coins, copies of frescoes with early Christian images, and early twentieth-century site photography.
The Decorated Word: Writing and Picturing in Islamic Calligraphy

The Decorated Word: Writing and Picturing in Islamic Calligraphy

April 8-November 3, 2019
Location: MET Museum, New York, NY | Cost: 25 USD

This exhibition examines the interplay between writing and picturing in Islamic calligraphy and explores the inherent tension between textual design, decoration, readability, and verbal clarity in some four dozen examples of Islamic calligraphy from The Met collection. These works, created between the ninth century and the present, include works on paper and parchment; ceramics; metalwork and coins; and a carpet. The presentation includes a selection of modern and contemporary works by artists from Iran and Pakistan who use the written word as their primary mode of artistic expression.

The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art

The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art

10 November 2019- 11 November 2019
Location: VCUarts Qatar, Doha, Qatar | Cost: Free
From medieval trade routes to the contemporary migrant crisis, the seas have served as both connective tissues and barriers between intellectual, political, and artistic traditions. Nowhere, perhaps, is this dual role more evident than within the visual cultures of the Islamic world. Stretching from centers around the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean to the coasts of Africa, South, and Southeast Asia, and with tendrils extending across the Pacific and Atlantic, these ethnically, linguistically, and socially variegated traditions were both united and divided by the seas and those who crossed them.
Qajar Ceramic: Bridging Tradition and Modernity

Qajar Ceramic: Bridging Tradition and Modernity

March 21 2019- December 31 2019
Location: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Cost: 29.53 USD

Qajar Ceramics – Bridging Tradition and Modernity is about an artistic transition, featuring a diversity of ceramic objects from the collection of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. The exhibition offers a closer look at the distinctive characteristics of Qajar ceramics, highlighting their forms, aesthetics, and themes. These objects point us to a story of vigour and resilience behind the Persian artistic expression. This rarely-explored field of Qajar ceramics typifies the development of the dynasty’s own language and vitality, reflecting the rich energy of the time.

Dream and Trauma Reopening of the Carpet Rooms in the Museum für Islamische Kunst

Dream and Trauma Reopening of the Carpet Rooms in the Museum für Islamische Kunst

October 27, 2018 - Till Further Notice
Location: Pergamonuseum, Berlin, Germany | Cost: 18 EUR

It is impossible to imagine the cultural history of Europe without the carpets and tapestries produced by Islamic cultures. They attest to the continual cultural dialogue between Europe and the Near and Middle East, and form a particular focus in the permanent exhibition of the Museum für Islamische Kunst. Through a redesign of the exhibition rooms, these vivid carpets and tapestries now invite guests to experience the origins and history of the collection with all their senses, and to catch a glimpse of current work being carried out on the carpets.

The exhibition features some of the oldest pieces in the collection, originating from the estate of the founder of the museum, Wilhelm von Bode. His interest in Islamic art as an independent art form that was equal to that of Europe was the original impetus for this collection, which even today remains a rarity, including carpets and tapestries from present-day Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus.

Middle East Galleries

Middle East Galleries

Ongoing
Location: Penn Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Cost: 15 USD

The 4,500-year-old crowning jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen. One of the world’s oldest wine vessels. A baby’s rattle. A school child’s first writing primer. A workman’s tool. An ancient spreadsheet. Through these fascinating objects and over 1,200 more, the Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries take you on a journey, exploring how ancient Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world’s first cities—cities not so different from our own