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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doha, Qatar's Art Expert Makes Portland's News With Art Show

Nadene Goldfoot
Our Portland Art Museum will be hosting a major exhibit on Islamic art over the next two years called, "Beauty and Belief:  Crossing Bridges With the Arts of Islamic Culture.  It will cover items from the 7th Century to the present.  The Quran manuscript is part of the display with a page framed showing two sections. 

Maribeth Graybill, our curator of Asian art, says the definition of Islamic art is a little hazy in that "a strict definition would be "objects made to fulfill a specifically Islamic religious function."  Brian Ferriso is the Portland museum's executive director, and says the show to come will include both high and low examples of art; from paintings to items such as drinking vessels.  He said that he hopes "Beauty" will initiate further discussion and interest in it. 

The show, which will run here from June 15, 2013 to Sept 8, 2013, is created by the efforts of Dr. Sabiha al Khemir, an artist in New York and Islamic art expert, He's the show's "driving force."  Khemir was the founding director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar from 2006-2008.

 The museum, in the shape of a ziggurat,  is the vision and commitment of the state of Qatar, which would be the Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani's brainchild.  He has carried on the work of relative Saud bin Mohammed al Thani, Qatari prince, and possibly grandson to the Emir,  who was dismissed as the country's art Acquisition chief in 2005.  The reason for the dismissal was of fears in the family that he was buying more art pieces for his own personal collection than for the nation's museums.  He had been the former president of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage.  This large family provides the leadership for every type of organization in Qatar, it seems like. 

40 collections residing in nine countries such as Kuwait and Morocco will be presented.  Doha, the capital, built the museum on an island of 64 acres, designed by architect I.M. Pei and had its opening December 8, 2008.  They have the goal of using it as a cultural force in the region.  Qatar is to be the center for academic research and wishes to be the bridge between the East and the West. 

This display is organized by the Brigham Young Museum under al Khemir's direction.  Funding comes from private donors, the National Endowment for the Arts (federal funding), and the Institue of Museum and Library Services.  Others who have signed on to view the display are the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Newark Museum.  Lucky us-we will be one of 4 museums to host this exhibit. 

Reference: Oregonian Newspaper  November 30, 2011 page C-Living, Portland will get Islamic art exhibit by D.K. Row,_Doha  excellent source  including immense family tree of Thani  about IM Pei, architect


Nadene Goldfoot said...

refer Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Quatar
This is astonishing stuff especially as the design of the Museum was based on the ancient Sumer "ziggurat: of UR.
Isn't our Patriarch ABRAHAM a descendant of ancient UR?
Lookout for artifacts that have HEBREW connotations - I have come across one that was on display at an Islamic Art exhibition in
Paris some years ago where HEBREW letters were engraved in a gold ASTROLABE used by the Spanish/Portuguese navigators
to find the route to the East and to the Americas. Denise

Nadene Goldfoot said...

My point is that this particular Astrolabe was very probably made by a Spanish/Portuguese Jewish craftsman because the Astrolabe was perfected by the great Jewish Scholar/Rabbi Samuel Zacuto and was specifically used as a nautical instrument of direction by Columbus, who sailed West, and by Vasco Da Gama, who sailed East, both of whom left from the harbour in Lisbon in the 1500s during which time Zacuto was at the Court of the Portuguese King.
What has happened in recent years is that the West has given full acknowledgement of many inventions and contributions to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, etc. to the Arabs from approx. 10th to 15th centuries without taking into account that the Jewish scholars had Judeo-Arabic names and could not therefore be easily distinguished. This article appeared in The Times in 2005 when an exhibition on 'Arab Inventions' was held in Paris. Amongst the exhibits was this Astrolabe with Hebrew lettering so it could be of significance to know for whom it was made, by which craftsman and the date.
Thanks for your interest,
Denise Bremridge.