Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed lecture explores history of Islamic art

March 15, 2024 / 5:37 PM
Sharjah24 - WAM: Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, attended the first of this year’s Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan lectures, titled ‘Islamic Artworks: History and Heritage.’
The Majlis was attended by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; several Sheikhs; ministers, senior officials, and specialists in the fields of Islamic arts.

The lecture, which took place in the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed venue at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, was presented by Dr Ibrahim Shabouh, a renowned researcher, historian and expert in Islamic archaeology, widely recognised for reinterpreting the works of the 14th century historiographer and philosopher Ibn Khaldun.

Dr Shabouh began his talk by recounting the time he had the honour of accompanying the late Sheikh Zayed on a tour of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, during the UAE President’s visit to Tunisia in the mid-1970s. He recalled how Sheikh Zayed took a keen interest in the architecture of the historic mosque and the materials used in its construction.

The lecture explored examples of unique artworks and architecture from the dawn of Islamic civilisation, including intricate mosaics – such as those found in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus – that feature early depictions of paradise. Using photographs to illustrate his presentation, Dr Shabouh discussed other elements of historic Islamic art, including intricate decorations carved into the stone facades of ancient palaces found throughout the Middle East region.

Another topic covered in the talk was early Arabic calligraphy, with the speaker giving detailed descriptions of the methods used in the production of centuries-old copies of the Quran, produced on leather parchment and painstakingly written in gold.

Through his examination of selected artworks and unique examples of architecture and decoration, Dr Shabouh presented a fascinating insight into the history of Islamic art, its influences and impact, and its role in promoting understanding between cultures. The topic of the lecture ties in with the UAE’s strong belief in the role of art in preserving religious and cultural values and its ability to build bridges between diverse communities.

The lecture was moderated by calligraphy artist Maryam Albalooshi and featured pre-recorded contributions from Khalid Aljallaf, President of the Emirates Society for Arabic Calligraphy; visual media artist Alya Alsanad; and the visual artist Patricia Millns, discussing how Islamic art, such as calligraphy, architecture and decoration, continue to influence artists and designers in the UAE and beyond.

‘Islamic Artworks: History and Heritage’ will be broadcast on Saturday, 16th March at 5:00 pm on local TV networks and will be available to watch afterwards on the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed YouTube channel (youtube.com/@MajlisMohamedbinZayed).
March 15, 2024 / 5:37 PM

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