The Seen and the Hidden: (Dis)covering the Veil
Austrian Cultural Forum
May 21—Aug 29
By examining the positions of contemporary artists from the Middle East, Europe, and New York, this exhibition represents a transcultural exploration of the numerous approaches to the ideas that surround both the literal and, as importantly, metaphorical meaning of the veil. It includes works in a variety of media such as video, installation, photography, and painting.
Artists: Ayad Alkadhi, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Adriana Czernin, Katrina Daschner, Shadi Ghadirian, Nilbar Güres, Marlene Haring, Farheen HAQ, Princess Hijab, Johanna Menne, Sara Rahbar, Marjane Satrapi, Asma Ahmed Shikoh, and Esin Turan.
Masterpieces of Islamic Calligraphy from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jun 2—Sep 1
Sumptuous masterpieces of calligraphy in a range of media from the Islamic Department’s encyclopedic collections will be on display for a period of three months, showcasing the calligraphic art of almost all parts of the Islamic world, from Spain to South Asia and beyond. The works, ranging in date from the 8th to the 19th centuries, will include several richly illuminated Quranic manuscripts as well as important pages from dispersed copies; examples of inlaid metalwork; fine ceramics with inscriptional ornament; and rare textiles with calligraphic elements. Many calligraphic styles, from early kufic to the later famed nasta’liq script, will be shown on a wide range of objects, demonstrating the impact and importance of this most quintessential of Islamic art forms.
Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam
Jun 5—Sep 6
This installation features approximately twenty-five objects from the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and private collections related to a mystical branch of Islam known as Sufism. While differing Muslim sects and diverse nationalities of the Islamic world may not always share a single religious or cultural ideology, the mystical and romantic aspects of Sufism tend to appeal to a global audience.
Inspired by Sufi ideologies and the poetry of celebrated mystics such as al-Ghazzali (d. 1111) and Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273), artists from the medieval Islamic period through the present day have produced works of art ranging from ceramic and metal wares to illustrated manuscripts and photographs. The theme of light and enlightenment is emphasized throughout, both literally and in its figurative or spiritual sense. Highlights include an extraordinary Egyptian gilded and enameled glass lamp inscribed with the famous “Light Verse” (Ayat al-Nūr) from the Qur’an; two brass candlesticks made in the Jazira region and Iran in the early thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, respectively; illustrated manuscripts, manuscript pages, and single folios of Sufi literature and subjects from Iran and India; an early thirteenth-century Iranian dish inscribed with mystical poetry; and a contemporary work on paper inspired by Sufi practices and produced with rubbings of prayer stones.
Complementary programs include:
Target First Saturday
Saturday, June 6, 5-11p.m.
In conjunction with Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas, and the Brooklyn Museum's special exhibition Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, June’s Target First Saturday explored music, dance, and film celebrating the vibrant art and culture of the Islamic world in Brooklyn. Highlights included an energetic Sufi-inspired music performance by Brooklyn Qawwali Party, an artist talk by Seher Shah, a presentation of whirling dervishes, the film I Love Hip Hop in Morroco, and a dance party by GlobeSonic DJ Fabian Alsultany and DJ Pepe of Electric Lila.
Saturday, June 13, 2–4 p.m.
Free with Museum Admission
Panel Discussion: Ruminations with Zahra Partovi
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Forum, 4th Floor
Zahra Partovi, whose artist book is featured in the special exhibition Light of the Sufis, discussed her art in conversation with collaborating book artist Kelly Driscoll, Hagop Kevorkian Associate Curator of Islamic Art Ladan Akbarnia, and Principal Librarian Deirdre Lawrence. The panel addressed the production, collection, and display of Sufi-inspired artist books.
Perspectives: Women, Art & Islam
MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) & Museum for African Art
Jun 4—Sep 13
MoCADA, in collaboration with the Museum for African Art, presents an exhibition that spans three continents and the mediums of video, photography, and installation to challenge preconceived notions of what it means to be a Muslim, a woman, and a visual artist whose work is influenced by Islam. Perspectives: Women, Art and Islam presents five female artists whose major connection is their personal relationship with Islam. Spanning three continents and the media of video, photography and installation, Perspectives features work by Fariba Alam (United States), Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria), Mahwish Chishty (Pakistan), Safaa Erruas (Morocco) and Nsenga Knight (United States), and explores the connections, or lack thereof, between the various Muslim communities in their lives. Perspectives is co-organized by MoCADA and the Museum for African Art, and is presented in conjunction with Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas, a city-wide, multi-institutional celebration of the extraordinary range of artistic expression in the Muslim world.
SATURDAY, JUNE 6 2:00 – 4:00pm
The exhibiting artists spoke about their work and the influence of Islam on their creative process. Exhibition curators Kimberli Gant and Lisa Binder led a discussion on the exhibition theme and curatorial process.
TUESDAY, JUNE 9 6:30 – 8:30pm
Dr. Halima Taha, one of the leading authorities on collecting African-American art and an active follower of Islam, discussed the history of Islam in the United States and misconceptions about the roles of women within the religion.
WEDNESDAY JUN 10, 6:00 PM
Migration Policy, Response and Reaction: The Status Quo
This session explored whether assimilation or integration are the only options for Muslim immigrants and their children. How have rising global tensions impacted the polarization of Muslims within European societies? Moderated by Paul Berman, Contributing Editor of The New Republic.
Special guest panelists for this session included Ambassador Ingmar Karlsson (former diplomat, Sweden), Pastor Anne Grung (Oslo University, Norway), Ahmet Kuru (Columbia University, Turkey),Hasni Abidi (Study and Research Center for the Arab and Mediterranean World, Switzerland) and Luz Gomez-Garcia (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain).
THURSDAY, JUNE 11 6:30 – 8:30pm
Media: The Catalyst
Popular media images or negative stereotypes that insult or humiliate Muslim groups have been shown to be related to the polarization between Muslim and Western societies. As rapid technological advances expand media capacities to shape our views of the world as well as each other, this panel sought to investigate what role entertainment media (film, TV and new media) can play in improving cross-cultural understanding. Moderated by Shamil Idriss, Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund.
Special guest panelists included H.M. Queen Noor (King Hussein Foundation), Benjamin Barber (author of Jihad vs. McWorld), Emmanuele Castano (The New School, Italy/US), Mohamed El-Fatatry (muxlim.com, Finland), Andrea ter Avest Dahm (dramatist, Netherlands). This panel was presented in collaboration with the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund.
MOSAIC PROGRAM FOR KIDS
SATURDAY, JUNE 13 2:00 – 4:00pm
Families worked with artist Hayat Gul to complete a large mosaic of President Barack Obama, while learning some basic history of the mosaic art form and using colored mylar to create their own mini-
mosaics to take home with them.
CALLIGRAPHY PROGRAM FOR KIDS
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 2:00 – 4:00pm
Families learned the history of calligraphy and practiced basic shapes to create their own beautiful masterpiece.
For detailed program listings, please see www.mocada.org and www.africanart.org
ISLAM IN EUROPE
INSULT: Fractured States?
The New York Public Library
LIVE from the NYPL, in collaboration with the European Union National Institutes for Culture presented this series of debates, discussions, and conversations gathering prominent, multidisciplinary speakers from around the world to explore how the power of insult ignites, engages, and launches both positive and negative action that shapes society.
This three-evening symposium on June 9, 10, and 11 2009 gathered prominent, cross-sector speakers from diverse disciplines and the Muslim diaspora to share country-specific perspectives on Muslim communities’ integration in European society. In five events, ISLAM IN EUROPE set the context for and explored multiple perspectives for viewing relations between European societies and their Muslim communities. Participants examined both how different European nations and the Muslim diasporas within their borders consider immediate local issues as well as looked at how a European-wide discourse is developing. The program also offered opportunities to bring American voices into this dialogue and was aimed at identifying opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.
Through scholarly debate, the related voices of participants of ISLAM IN EUROPE articulated new perspectives, offering insight into the ideas that shape policy and thought.
A closer look at programming:
Part I, June 9, 7:00 pm
Opening Event: How Did We Get Here?
This opening panel, introduced by Mustapha Tlili (Founder of the Center for Dialogues at New York University), set the historical framework for the entire symposium and explore how Europe’s socio-economic and political history led to contemporary, post-colonial immigration and integration issues.
David Brancaccio, Host, NOW on PBS, moderator.
Special guest panelists included Benjamin Barber (author of Jihad vs. McWorld), poet and writer Tahar Ben Jelloun, and Imam Abduljalil Sajid (Chairman of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony U.K.).
Part II, June 10, 6:00 pm
Migration Policy, Reaction and Response: The Status Quo
This session explored whether assimilation or integration are the only options for Muslim immigrants and their children? How have rising tensions at the global level impacted polarization of Muslims within European societies?
Paul Berman, contributing editor, The New Republic, moderator.
Special guest panelists for this session included Heinz Bude (University of Kassel, Germany), Ambassador Ingmar Karlsson (former diplomat, Sweden), Pastor Anne Grung (Oslo University, Norway), Ahmet Kuru (Columbia University, Turkey), Hasni Abidi (Study and Research Center for the Arab and Mediterranean World, Switzerland), and Gema Martín Muñoz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain).
Part III, June 10, 7:30 pm
Youth: The Future
This debate investigated how young people, as Western citizens who are fully confident in their Muslim identities, tackle thorny societal issues and challenge old paradigms. The session also discussed how young can people play an integral role in creating a better, socially coherent future.
Moustafa Bayoumi, City University of New York, moderator
Special guests panelists included Nanna Westh (filmmaker, Denmark), Farid Hafez (Austrian Muslim Youth, Austria), Ziyah Gafic (Photographer, Bosnia), and respondents, Nebojsa Seric Shoba (visual artist, Bosnia-Hercegovina) and Krysztof Czyzewski (Borderland Foundation, Poland).
Part IV, June 11, 5:00 pm
Media: The Catalyst
Popular media images or negative stereotypes that insult or humiliate Muslim groups have been shown to be related to the polarization between Muslim and Western societies. As rapid technological advances expand media’s capacity to shape our views of the world as well as each other, this panel sought to investigate what role entertainment media (film, TV and new media) can play in improving cross-cultural understanding.
Shamil Idriss, Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, moderator
Special guest panelists included H.M. Queen Noor (King Hussein Foundation), Emmanuele Castano (The New School, Italy/US), Mohamed El-Fatatry (muxlim.com, Finland), Andrea ter Avest Dahm (dramatist, Netherlands). This panel was presented in collaboration with the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund.
Part V, June 11, 7:00 pm
Conclusions: Where Do We Go From Here?
Paul Holdengraber (Director of LIVE from the NYPL) closed the symposium in a conversation with three prominent thinkers from Europe and the United States: Khaled Fouad Allam (University of Trieste, Italy), Benjamin Barber (author of Jihad vs. McWorld), Jocelyn Cesari (Harvard University, France), and Bas Heijne (author, The Netherlands) and Imam Abduljalil Sajid (Chairman of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony U.K.).
This program was presented in collaboration with the European Union National Institutes of Culture and the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund.
Paint the Town Green
In celebration of Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas, the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Borough Hall was lit green from June 5—7. The color green has many significant associations in Islam and is considered auspicious.