Tag Archives: Islamic

Islamic art – Interactive learning for adults and children

For an in-depth view of the history and aesthetics of Islamic art alongside thousands of examples of artworks visit the Discover Islamic art website: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/

Areas of the subject are split by smaller topics based on time periods, dynasties and decorative styles. You can also search through the databases and collections from various museums around the world

Discover_Islamic_Art_Virtual_Exhibitions_-_2015-06-27_12.53.27

Discover Islamic Art website: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/ by Museum With No Frontiers (MWF)

Something that might appeal to a younger audience is the selection of interactive games that have also been produced as part of ‘Learn with MWF': http://www.discoverislamicart.org/learn/index.html

Learn with MWF

Learn with MWF: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/learn/index.html

The overall design of the page and elements does not shout ‘children’s fun learning’ (my experience in web design and usability kicking in here) but it has the potential to be an effective and engaging learning tool. The above game ‘Where Would You Put Me?’ encourages the user to try and match the object name with the picture on the right of the screen.

Learn with Museum With No Frontiers: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/learn/exe1/index_en.html

Interactive game ‘Where Would You Put Me': http://www.discoverislamicart.org/learn/exe1/index_en.html

Once you have correctly labelled each object (even I had to guess a few of these as the images are not clear until you open them up individually, and neither is the font used for the text), you are taken to the next stage where you can group objects according to the environment they would have been found and used in. The four categories provided below are Mosque, Palace, Fort and House:

Interactive game Learn with Discover Islamic Art

Interactive game ‘Learn with Discover Islamic Art': http://www.discoverislamicart.org/learn/exe1/index_en.html

In summary this is a great way to engage a younger audience and helps familiarise children with objects found in many museums’ Islamic art collections.

Princes School of Traditional Arts Degree Show 2014

I managed to catch the Degree Show at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (PSTA), an exhibition of work produced by graduates of the postgraduate programme.

As you may have guessed, there are strong ties between traditional arts and crafts Islamic art. In fact ‘traditional arts and crafts’ is often the description provided for the term ‘Islamic art’, and it is usually these types of items that are displayed as examples of it. Rightly, or wrongly? It is debatable.  However, we must acknowledge that the link persists, and thankfully, the skills have been passed on to generations of artists and craftsmen today.

At the PSTA, students hone their skills of creativity and activity to produce contemporary artworks using traditional methods and materials, and always to a high standard.

Below is work produced by Ahmed Angawi, who comes from a product design background. His hand-made woodwork combined various woods to enable a mixture of shades and patterns within his pieces.

Close-up of woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Close-up of woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Also, on show were a pair of beautiful replica Hijazi doors produced by Sarah Al Abdali, using plaster.

Plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Detail of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Detail of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Close-up of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Close-up of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

The inspiration behind this piece was Sarah’s discovery of the original wooden doors within the Jameel Centre collection in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.

Hijazi Doors, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

17th century, carved wooden Hijazi Doors at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Image and item details can be viewed here: http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/object/EAX.422

Cutwork pieces by Sarah Al Abdali

Laser-cut pieces by Sarah Al Abdali

Having viewed previous work produced from PSTA gradautes, it was great to see  students are now also experimenting more with new technologies such as laser-cutting. It’ll be interesting to see how much technology will influence the work produced by artists in future.

Another favourite was the Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann who learnt this unique method for decorating wood in Morocco:

Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann

Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann (for further details visit http://www.natashazouaq.co.uk)

Painting by Natasha Mann

Painting by Natasha Mann using hand ground natural pigments with egg tempera and 24 carat gold leaf.

Painting by Natasha Mann

Painting by Natasha Mann using hand ground natural pigments with egg tempera and 24 carat gold leaf.

Further images below demonstrate some of the incredibly intricate work on show:

Read more about The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and both their taught and public programmes on their website: http://psta.org.uk/

 

A Hidden Order

I had the opportunity to attend the private view and launch of A Hidden Order at the Princes School of Traditional Arts. The project is a collaboration between geometer Sama Mara and composer Lee Westwood who have created a digital method for producing Islamic geometric patterns using sound.

The design of the patterns were projected showing how the pattern built up further and further based on the composition of the musical sounds. Each key or note was interpreted by a program that would then convert the sound to form part of a colour and shape system. The programming was meticulously developed by Sama Mara but the development interface plays a hidden role in the final display of the artwork.

Read more about the project on the official website here: www.musicalforms.com/

Projection from live performance of A Hidden Order by Sama Mara and Lee Westwood

Projection from live performance of A Hidden Order by Sama Mara and Lee Westwood

Once the patterns have been generated they can be seen as standalone visuals. These were exhibited as digital prints along the walls at the PSTA.

Print generated from A Hidden Order

Print generated from A Hidden Order

About

A brief introduction – I am pursuing research at University of Kent on the topic of contemporary Islamic art in Britain and the use of digital technologies by artists within this art scene.

The study aims to understand the contemporary Islamic art scene from the perspective of artists, curators and the general public.

Alongside this will be an investigation into whether digital technologies are being adopted by these artists and if so, in which ways? Digital technologies can be used in a number of ways so I’ll be keeping the term ‘use‘ quite open. It will therefore apply to those artists who adopt digital technologies for not only producing but also presenting and curating their artworks.

I’m keen to hear public thoughts on this or related topics so please feel free to get in touch!

In the meantime, keep an eye out for new posts which will demonstrate the subject areas that will feed into, inform and shape the developments in my research.