ARCHIVE/Art Exhibitions

Islamic Culture

Written by Aksel Ritenis


“Islamic Culture” opens February 24, 2012 at the Brigham Young Museum of Art, Provo, Utah.

(Provo, UTAH, September 28, 2011) “Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture” opens on February 24th, 2012 (closes September 29, 2012) at the Brigham Young Museum of Art in Provo, UT. The show will travel to three other venues throughout the United States including The Indianapolis Museum of Art (November 2, 2012 – January 13, 2013), The Newark Museum (February 13, 2013- May 16, 2013) and The Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon (June 15, 2013-September 8, 2013).

The exhibition is a journey through Islamic culture from the 7th century through the present day, punctuated with works of art and daily life. It is unique in that it draws heavily from collections in the United States as well as Kuwait, Great Britain, Canada, France, Denmark, Morocco, Egypt and Italy.


Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, the project director for the exhibition, has assembled 250 works for the exhibition that would have been used and cherished in homes of royalty as well as those created for other levels of society. Among the noteworthy pieces are masterworks from the Al Sabah Collection, Kuwait; unique manuscripts from the Royal Library in Morocco and works shared from across the United States from the Doris Duke collection to St. Louis, the MET and private collections from around the world.


Dr. Al Khemir’s goal was to have the exhibition answer the question: “What makes Islamic Art Islamic?” To do this, she has created a show that features, first, an introduction that provides historical and geographic background. Succeeding sections of the exhibition feature the themes of calligraphy, figurative imagery, and pattern. She also strongly believes that art is a medium for bringing cultures together; east to west and west to east.

Of particular importance is correcting the assumption held by Muslims and non-Muslims alike that the art of Islam is devoid of any figurative representation. The exhibition shows how the figurative – though not permitted in the Mosque, is, in fact, present in Islamic culture through its different media and across centuries.Islamic7


Dr. Al Khemir was the Founding Director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha,, Qatar. In addition, she developed “From Cordoba to Samarkand, Masterpieces from the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha” at the Louvre, the first museum presentation of some of the pieces that would become the core of the museum’s permanent collection. She was also a consultant for the Met Museum’s exhibition “Al-Andalus: Islamic Art of Spain,” which included pieces from Europe and North Africa. She is also an artist and novelist, her most recent book being ‘The Blue Manuscript.’


The exhibition is supported by a major grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services, grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as a number of private donors.

For Further Information: Mary Frances Duffy – 917-854-6580/

Article written by Staff Correspondent – Connoisseur Magazine

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Aksel Ritenis

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