Archive for the 'Keir Collection of Islamic Art' Category

The Artful Overlapping of Old and Modern Iran

A work by Houston-based Iranian-American artist Soody Sharifi is now on view in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery. Courtly Love, an archival inkjet print from 2007, is an adaptation of a 15th-century painting in the Keir Collection. The original painting is an illustration of a tale from the Khamsa of Nizami, a collection of five tragic love poems. It depicts a scene from the romance of the Iranian king Khusraw and Armenian princess Shirin. Drunk and guilty of an amorous tryst, Khusraw has arrived at Shirin’s palace on horseback. Shirin, peering out from a window, is counseled by an older woman and refuses him entry. The scene is witnessed by a variety of attendants, including three scribes holding poetic manuscripts below. A darker mood is also present; anxious angels who know the inevitable tragic outcome of the story hover at upper left, while two gardeners with golden shovels foreshadow the twin graves in which the lovers will lie for eternity.

Khusraw at Shirin’s Palace, painting from a manuscript of Nizami’s Khamsa, last quarter of the 15th century, ink, colors and gold on paper, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the DMA, K.1.2014.738

Courtly Love is one of a series of works that Sharifi has termed “Maxiatures,” a play on the term “miniatures” that is commonly used to describe the small format of Islamic book paintings. Sharifi’s works are large. For them, she has selected well-known examples of architectural paintings that illustrate Persian literary classics, such as the Khamsa, to serve as a basis for adaptation through the addition of new figures taken from photography. She also works with the architectural elements in the original image, changing their scale and contents. In this work, some of the original painted figures have vanished, and those that remain become unwitting bystanders to a new cast of figures inserted into the scene: contemporary, young Iranians, mainly women, going about daily tasks. These include making a call at a phone booth, jumping rope, playing with a hula-hoop, painting toenails, installing a satellite dish, and looking over the balustrades and through windows. Three young men speak to the women from outside the garden walls—the circumscribed formalities of courtly love referenced in the title of the work, and perhaps referring to the themes of the original painting.

Soody Sharifi, Courtly Love, 2007, archival inkjet print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Richard and Glen de Unger in gratitude to Walter Elcock for his attentiveness and support for the Keir Collection, 2018.40

Sharifi’s work appears to be concerned with issues of dual identities, of a past and present that is especially acute for Iranians of her generation who were exiled by the revolution of 1979. Given that the figures in her works are young, this may represent the nostalgia of young Iranians today who still live in proximity to the elegant palaces and gardens depicted in historical paintings, perhaps inhabited now only by ghosts, like the figures in 15th-century paintings. Her concern with dualities—of language, of national identity, of traditions and contemporary technologies, of political tensions—seems to be present in this work, where contemporaneity hovers over a past that can no longer be reached. Certainly, there is also a sense of humor—it is clever and funny to see modern people in these poetical constructs.

Soody Sharifi’s work is displayed in the Keir Collection Gallery alongside the painting that inspired it so that the public can appreciate her interventions, decode her intentions, and enjoy the presence of both works of art at once. Join Sharifi in person as she shares insights into Courtly Love at our next Late Night on February 15.

Heather Ecker is The Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic and Medieval Art at the DMA.

 

Islamic Art Festival: By the Numbers

Starting tomorrow, the DMA will host a free three-day Islamic Art Festival celebrating the Keir Collection of Islamic Art. The Keir Collection installation on view in Focus Gallery I and included in the DMA’s free general admission is the largest public presentation in the history of one of the world’s most important private collections of Islamic art. While the collection has been on view since the spring, we knew we wanted to host a large celebration in honor of the collection coming to the DMA, which led us to plan the Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange.

The festival will feature talks, artist demonstrations, music, and dance performances all highlighting Islamic art and the influence it has had across cultures.

American Bedouin will perform on Thursday night.

Calligraphers from the Islamic Art Revival Series will write your name in Arabic on Saturday.

Dance performances will take place in the Atrium on Friday and Saturday.

To give you a sense of all of the exciting and informative programs that will be packed into three days, I thought it would be fun to share a “by-the-numbers” for the Islamic Art Festival:

59 – Number of musicians, dancers, artists, and speakers participating in the festival

6 – Number of Spotlight Talks in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

15 – Total number of hours of the Islamic Art Festival—who will spend all 15 hours with us?

4 – Number of hands-on art-making activities you can do during the festival

8 – Number of music performances you can enjoy during the festival

3 – Number of dance performances you can watch during the festival

0 – The cost of attending the Islamic Art Festival

1 – Number of princesses who will speak at the DMA to kick off the festival! Tonight, DMA Members can hear a talk by Her Highness Lalla Joumala Alaoui of Morocco, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United States. If you’re not already a DMA Member, join today to experience this special opportunity.

Ewer, Egypt, late 10th–early 11th century, rock crystal, 19th-century gold mount by Jean-Valentin Morel, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.1.a–b

Casket, Iran, second half of the 14th century, brass inlaid with silver, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.86

The Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange is made possible by Dr. Haroon Rasheed and Mrs. Rania Mohamed. We are also excited to collaborate with the Islamic Art Revival Series, the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth on several of the programs for the festival. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art is presented by Kosmos Energy.

We look forward to seeing you at the DMA over the next three days!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

Installing 13 Centuries in One Gallery

Art is on the move with less than a week to go before the Museum’s permanent gallery space dedicated to the long-term loan of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art opens on Tuesday, April 18. The largest public presentation of this renowned collection will feature works that range from rock crystal to metalwork, ceramics, textiles, carpets, and works on paper.

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,539 other followers

Twitter Updates

Categories