Up to 700 invited guests are expected to attend the one-day symposium, to be held at the Emirates Palace Auditorium on January 23rd, and which will celebrate the launch of the Arts of Islam exhibition. The exhibition which was inspired by ‘Truly God is Beautiful and loves all beauty’ the exhibition will feature a selection of works from the renowned Khalili collection and is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
“The symposium heralds the start of a major arts education initiative which is being rolled out in Abu Dhabi and will gain momentum over the coming year as the emirate moves ahead with its aim of becoming a world-class cultural centre,” said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Cultural and Heritage (ADACH) and of TDIC.
“Through education we will build a qualified national and expatriate cadre which will assist us in achieving our aim. The calibre of symposium speaker sets the tone and standard of what we will aspire to – the very best and most knowledgeable in their field sharing wisdom and expertise for the benefit of all.” added Sheikh Sultan.
The symposium will examine issues of ‘Piety, Majesty and Style’ in Islamic Art, the role of the genre in a frontier society, the art of Qur’anic calligraphy and illumination, Chivalry in Islam, art form in Ottoman calligraphy as well as Islamic textiles in art.
The high-powered speaker profile includes: Professor Doris Behrens-Abouseif, a published author and the holder of the Nasser D. Khalili Chair of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the University of London; Professor Jeremy Johns, published author and Chair of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, The Oriental Institute, Director of the Khalili Research Centre and Professor of Art & Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean at Oxford University; Tim Stanley, a curator, writer, lecturer, editor and calligraphy specialist who is currently Senior Curator for the Middle Eastern collections at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum; Professor Michael Rogers, published author and Honorary Curator of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Nahla Nassar, Curator of the collection, Dr Abdel Rahman H. Makhlouf, owner and Managing Director of the Arab Office for Planning and Architecture and Nasser D. Khalili, scholar, author, noted collector and benefactor who holds a PhD in Islamic Art from London University’s School of Oriental and African studies.
The symposium will also be addressed by H.E Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, the ADACH Vice Chairman, who is directly involved in the implementation of a number of the authority’s cultural programmes and a member of the Permanent Higher Executive Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
‘The Arts of Islam: Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection’, will run at Emirates Palace Hotel until April 22. It comprises over 500 objects illustrating the breadth of artistic achievement in the Islamic world from early Islam in the 7th century to the early 20th century. In addition to the symposium, a series of lectures and educational and public programmes is being planned to coincide with the exhibition.
With a vast range of decorative arts from the Islamic world, the Khalili Collection of Islamic art includes masterpieces from the 7th to the 20th century. The exhibition showcases exquisite treasures from a broad spectrum of media from as far East as China, India and Iran, across the Middle East to North Africa and Spain. A number of works that have never been exhibited before are shown for the first time.
‘The Arts of Islam’ will be open from 10am until 10pm daily with visitors requested, at their discretion, to make a Dhs50 entrance fee donation to support the Arts Program of the Emirates Foundation – a philanthropic organisation based in Abu Dhabi, which was created with a vision of implementing strategic projects that benefit the UAE nation, particularly the country’s youth.
Abu Dhabi is on its way to becoming a global cultural destination with the creation of the Cultural District on Saadiyat Island, the 27 square kilometre island lying 500 metres offshore the UAE capital city. The district will be home to the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi modern and contemporary arts museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum, a maritime museum, performing arts centre and cluster of arts pavilions.
‘The Arts of Islam’ is part of a cycle of international temporary exhibitions which are central to Abu Dhabi’s strategy of preparing its audience for future development on Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District.
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