The Dallas Museum of Art today announced a three-day celebration exploring Islamic art and culture and the influence it has had across cultures to take place November 16–18 with a DMA Member exclusive kickoff event on November 15. The Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange, made possible by the generous support of Dr. Haroon Rasheed and Rania Mohamed, features a wide range of free programming created in partnership with the Islamic Art Revival Series, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. It will celebrate the Museum’s presentation of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, presented by Kosmos Energy, which includes 13 centuries of Islamic cultural production—from rock crystal to metalwork, ceramics, textiles, carpets and works on paper.
DMA Members will have access to an exclusive kickoff lecture, presented in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, with Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui of Morocco, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the USA, on Wednesday, November 15, at 7:00 p.m.
The free public festivities begin Thursday evening with a musical performance featuring American Bedouin, incorporating styles from Africa, the Middle East, Greece, India and Europe, and a keynote talk with Dr. Sheila R. Canby, Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, discussing the impact of cross-cultural exchange on Islamic art.
November’s Late Night on Friday, November 17, features free admission due to the generosity of the sponsors of the festival. From 6:00 p.m. until midnight, talks, tours, performances and more will explore the rich history of Islamic art, including programs highlighting work in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art. The night will include:
• Author Thomas Madden discussing his latest book, Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World, a city where many objects from the Keir Collection were created;
• Artist Ambreen Butt talking about the tradition of miniature painting; and
• The Nomad Dancers performing folkloric dances inspired by traditions of India, Persia, Central Asia, Middle East and Turkey.
The DMA’s Founders Room, located at the south end of the building, will be available to use as a prayer space during the evening.
The festival culminates on Saturday, November 18, with talks from art historians including the DMA’s Dr. Anne Bromberg and Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, a musical performance by the Ismaili Muslim Youth Choir of Dallas and a dance performance by the Jubilee Performance Group, Arabic calligraphy demonstrations, and more.
Assembled over the course of five decades by the noted art collector Edmund de Unger (1918–2011), the Keir Collection of Islamic Art is recognized by scholars as one of the most geographically and historically comprehensive of its kind, encompassing almost 2,000 works spanning three continents and 13 centuries. The Keir Collection came to the DMA on a long-term loan agreement with the trustees of the Keir Collection that was finalized in 2014, transforming the Museum into the third largest repository of Islamic art in the United States. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery, which opened in April of this year following an exhibition of the collection at the DMA in 2015, is the largest public presentation in the collection’s history—showcasing over 150 works—and is on view as part of the DMA’s free general admission.
The Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange is underwritten by Dr. Haroon Rasheed and Mrs. Rania Mohamed. Programming created in partnership with the Islamic Art Revival Series, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art is presented by Kosmos Energy.
Visit DMA.org/IslamicArtFestival for more information, and visit DMA.org/Members to learn how to become a DMA Member.