Roundtable on Islamic Art

Posted on December 14th, 2012 in Events

February 7, 2013, 5:30 PM, Cantor Arts Center (328 Lomita Drive)

Roundtable on Islamic Art

Iftikhar Dadi (Cornell University)
Nada Shabout (University of North Texas)
Taraneh Hemami (Curator & Artist)

Although very widely used, the phrase “Islamic art” has been the subject of considerable discussion and negotiation in recent years. In this roundtable, panelists will engage questions that relate the use of the phrase Islamic art to artistic practice on a worldwide scale. We wish to take seriously both the materiality of objects and installations that constitute art, and intellectual patterns and sociopolitical relations that lead to art’s production. Moving beyond any kind of sterile concern with definitions, we will explore how producers, evaluators, buyers, and viewers of art today are likely to interpret the term Islamic art, and illustrate a diverse set of perspectives that, in turn, will reflect on aesthetics, the relationship between the present and the past, and personal and collective identities in the world today.

Iftikhar Dadi (Cornell University) is Associate Professor of History of Art, and is chair of the Department of Art. He received his Ph.D. in History of Art from Cornell. As an artist and art historian, Dadi is broadly interested in the relation between art practice in the contexts of modernity, globalization, urbanization, mediatization, and postcolonialism. He has authored numerous scholarly works, including the recent book Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Curatorial activities include Unpacking Europe at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and Tarjama/Translation at Queens Museum of Art and Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. As an artist, Dadi works collaboratively with Elizabeth Dadi. Their work investigates the salience of popular urban and media cultures in the construction of memory, borders, and identity in contemporary globalization. Their work is frequently realized in large-scale installations and has been exhibited and published internationally.

Nada Shabout (University of North Texas) is Associate Professor of Art Education and Art History at University of North Texas. She received her Ph.D. in the Humanities from University of Texas at Arlington. Her research interests include cultural destruction and preservation, historiography of Arab art, identity politics and art, and post-colonial and feminist theory. She is the author of New Vision:  Arab Art in the Twenty-First Century (2009), and Modern Arab Art: Formation of an Arab Aesthetic (2007).

Taraneh Hemami  is a San Francisco-based artist and curator, whose work engages in diverse strategies including installation, object and media productions, collective and participatory projects to explore themes of displacement, preservation, and representation. Her collective and curatorial projects create connections through experimental projects between artists, writers and scholars, while promoting and provoking dialog as part of their process and presentation, to explore various topics from martyrdom to the reflections of the everyday. Her recent handcrafted replications of historical archives serve as commemoratives to events, places and people, while commenting on tools of manipulation and persuasion used across nations and histories. Her sources have varied from an image downloaded from a US governmental site for examination of perception and stereotyping in the Most Wanted series to a collection of banned books and propaganda of the Iranian underground movement that narrate the Iranian revolution in the Theory of Survival project. Taraneh’s conceptually driven works shift in material and presentation: shimmering shattered glass prayer rugs, laser cut wool carpet map of the city of Tehran, beaded curtains replicating governmental posters and postage stamps, a library of banned books.

Shahzad Bashir (Stanford University) is Lysbeth Warren Anderson Professor in Islamic Studies, and Director of the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. His research is concerned with the intellectual and social history of Persianate societies of Iran and Central and South Asia circa fourteenth century CE to the present. His publications focus on  the study of Sufism and Shi’ism, messianic movements originating in Islamic contexts, representation of corporeality in hagiographic texts and Persian miniature paintings, religious developments during the Timurid and Safavid periods, and modern transformations of Islamic societies. He is the author of numerous articles and four books, Under the Drones: Modern Lives in Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands (2012), Sufi Bodies: Religion and Society in Medieval Islam (2011), Fazlallah Astarabadi and the Hurufis (2005), and Messianic Hopes and Mystical Visions: The Nurbakhshiya Between Medieval and Modern Islam (2003). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Building the Past: Memory, Metaphor, and Reality in Islamic Narratives.

[Co-sponsored by the Cantor Arts Center]

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