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:

Wonderous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place

India’s Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman

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

Reorient 2019 Festival of Short Plays

Helen Zughiab: Stories My Father Told Me

Qajar Ceramic: Bridging Tradition and Modernity

Dream and Trauma

Longing for Mecca

Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art

Middle East Galleries at Penn Museum

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.
India's Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman

India's Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman

05 May - 20 October, 2019
Location: Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles | Cost: Free
Stepwells are structures unique to India, built at least as early as 600 CE. They are magnificent feats of architectural and engineering ingenuity found most commonly across the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan and stretching to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Seasonal monsoonal rains in the parched landscape of northwest India necessitated a water-storage system to support populations. These subterranean structures plunge three to thirteen stories into the ground, and stairways transport visitors to the base of a well to retrieve water. Stepwells commissioned by Hindu patrons reflect the incorporation of the post-and-lintel building system, while Muslim-inspired stepwells often result in octagonal-shaped well shafts, majestic domes, and extensive colonnades with repeated archways.
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.
REORIENT 2019 Festival of Short Plays

REORIENT 2019 Festival of Short Plays

18 October - 17 December, 2019
Location: Potero Stage, San Fransisco | Cost: 15 USD
Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its prestigious ReOrient 2019 Festival of Short Plays with seven fully produced short plays, two panel discussions, and a national convening of Middle Eastern theatre artists. The festival runs October 18-November 17, 2019 at Potrero Stage. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://goldenthread.org/productions/reorient-2019/.
Helen Zughaib: Stories My Father Told Me

Helen Zughaib: Stories My Father Told Me

19 August - 24 November, 2019
Location: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts, Boulder Colorado | Cost: 2 USD
Helen Zughaib is one of the most renowned Arab‐American artists in the United States. Her work is exhibited in the White House, the Library of Congress, the World Bank and in hundreds of collections, museums and galleries across the globe. President Barack Obama presented a painting by Zughaib to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al‐Maliki, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave one of her paintings to Morocco’s King Mohammad VI. Zughaib is an ambassador for peace, whose art illuminates the commonalities of all people, bridging what often seem to be insurmountable cultural divides.
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.

Longing for Mecca

Longing for Mecca

Now - 12 January, 2020
Location: Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam| Cost: 16 EUR

Longing for Mecca offers a unique insight into the Hajj, Islam’s most important pilgrimage. Millions of people travel to Mecca each year, including thousands of Dutch. It is one of the world’s biggest religious, spiritual and cultural phenomena. What attracts these pilgrims? What impressions and experiences move them on the road, when they reach their destination and when they come back?

Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art

Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art

10 October - 26 January, 2020
Location: The British Museum, London| Cost: Free

Artistic exchange between East and West has a long and intertwined history, and the exhibition picks these stories up from the 15th century, following cultural interactions that can still be felt today. Objects from Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa highlight a centuries-old tradition of influence and exchange from East to West. The diverse selection of objects includes ceramics, photography, glass, jewellery and clothing, as well as contemporary art, showcasing how artistic exchange influenced a variety of visual and decorative arts. The exhibition concludes with a 21st-century perspective, through the eyes of four female artists from the Middle East and North Africa who continue to question and subvert the idea of Orientalism in their work and explore the subject of Muslim female identity.

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