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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by HH Karim Aga Khan (b 1936), the spiritual head of the Nizari Isma‛ili Muslim community since 1957, to identify and encourage building concepts that address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award, organized on a three-year cycle, is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the Aga Khan, which selects an independent Master Jury, which in turn selects the projects for awards. Since its inception, the Award has completed nine cycles and documented over 7500 buildings worldwide. Master Juries have selected 92 projects to receive awards, with prizes totaling up to US $500,000. A Chairman’s Award, established to honour accomplishments outside the scope of the Master Jury’s mandate, has recognized the lifetime achievements of the Egptian architect Hassan Fathy, the Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, and the Sri Lankan architect ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[‛Alī Wijdān; Wijdan]

(b Baghdad, Aug 29, 1939).

Jordanian painter and art patron. She studied history at Beirut University College (formerly Beirut College for Women), receiving a BA in 1961. In 1993 she took a PhD in Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. After serving in the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representing her country at United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, Ali founded the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan in 1979 and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in 1980 (see Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of). In 1988 she organized in Amman the Third International Seminar on Islamic Art, entitled ‘Problems of Art Education in the Islamic World’, and in 1989 she organized the exhibition Contemporary Art from the Islamic World at the Barbican Centre, London. In 2001 she founded the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan, and has received numerous awards in recognition of her work in the arts....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Tehran, 1934).

Iranian sculptor. Trained at the College of Decorative Arts, Tehran, he held his first solo exhibition at the Iran-India Center, Tehran in 1964. Inspired by Achaemenid and Assyrian art as well as by Babylonian carvings and inscriptions, Arabshahi has been associated with Hussein Zenderoudi, Parviz Tanavoli, and the Saqqakhana movement. His work has been shown in Iran, Europe, and the United States. Among his major commissions are sculptures and architectural reliefs for the Office for Industry and Mining, Tehran (...

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Tehran, Jul 10, 1939).

American sculptor of Iranian birth. Armajani studied in Iran at the University of Tehran before immigrating to the USA in 1960 to complete his studies in philosophy at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, where he settled permanently. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1967. Armajani used the language of vernacular architecture in his sculpture to create spaces into which the viewer moves, sometimes being literally surrounded by the sculpture. Cellar doors, back stairways, loading docks, benches, bridges, porches, gazebos, and other such homely architectural elements are the inspiration for his sculptures and installations. Early in Armajani’s career he was on the faculty of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he lectured on philosophy and conceptual art, but he left teaching in 1975 to concentrate exclusively on his sculpture.

Armajani stated repeatedly that his intention was to create a “neighborly” space, that is, a space that brings people together. His public sculpture is perhaps best thought of as social sculpture, in the sense meant by postwar German artist Joseph Beuys: a community-seeking, politically progressive, public art. Armajani’s many commissions include the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis (...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Pers. ‛Ashqābād; formerly Ashkhabad Askhabad, Poltoratsk]

Capital city of Turkmenistan. Lying in an oasis south of the Karakum Desert, the city was founded in 1881 on the site of a mountain village (Rus. aul). Linked by rail with the Caspian coast in 1885, it developed rapidly as the center of the Transcaspian region at the turn of the 20th century and became the capital of the Turkmen republic in 1924. It suffered greatly from earthquakes in 1893, 1895 and 1929; following complete destruction by the earthquake of 6 October 1948, the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s.

Saparmurat Niyazov (generally referred to as Turkmenbashi, or leader of the Turkmen), president from 1985 to 2006, used the revenues from huge gas reserves to lavishly embellish the city with grandiose monuments of gleaming white marble and gold. Civic structures include not only the palace, government offices and an exhibition center, but also the Arch of Neutrality, a large tripod in front of which stands a gold statue of Turkmenbashi that rotates to face the sun. Religious structures include the Azadi Mosque, which resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the Kipchak Mosque, said to be the largest in Central Asia. The National Museum of History (...

Article

Yasir Sakr

(b Jerusalem, 1945).

Jordanian architect . He graduated from Darmstadt University in 1970. Badran’s career is marked by three distinct phases of development, all of which express his capacity for lucid visualization. In his early formalist phase his work reflected modernist inclinations. Committed to a utopian social vision, in each of his designs Badran proposed a redefinition of form, social function and associated modes of behaviour. This phase is exemplified by a low-cost housing project in Bonn (1972) and Handal’s Residence (1975) in Amman. In his second phase his works reflected historicist tendencies by drawing on traditional images for collective communication, for example Queen Alia neighbourhood (1982) in Amman and the Justice Palace Complex (1984) in Riyadh. Badran’s work further evolved into a third stage, a dialectic between modernism and traditionalism, expressed through metaphors operating at two levels. Sensory metaphors present tectonic and iconographic analogies with natural forms and historical artefacts, adapting the designed space-form to its immediate regional setting. Cognitive metaphors endeavour to establish conceptual analogies with the ordering principles and relationships that underlie tradition, through the overall configuration of the design. The third phase of Badran’s career is characterized by a winning entry for the international competition of the State Mosque (...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Jerusalem, 1942).

Palestinian-born painter. Raised in Jerusalem, Boullata studied at the Accademia di Belle Arte in Rome from 1961 to 1965. After the 1967 war, he pursued graduate study at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC (1969–70) and then taught at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (1982–4). He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship to Morocco in 1993–4 and received a fellowship from the Ford Foundation in 2001, finally moving to Menton in southern France. His work, mainly executed in silkscreen and acrylic on canvas and paper, investigates the correspondence between visual and verbal communication. He repeats words or phrases in geometric grids of strong colors, but some of his most effective works are conceived as hand-made “artists books,” including Beginnings (1992), Three Quartets (1994), A Clock of Clouds (1995), Twelve Lanterns for Granada (...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Bandırma, 1935).

Turkish calligrapher, marbler, and connoisseur. He attended high school at Haydarpaşa Lisesi and then graduated from the School of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at Istanbul University. He worked as a pharmacist until 1977, when he became the director of the Türkpetrol Foundation, a position he held until 2007. Derman studied calligraphy and the arts of the book with many of the leading experts in Istanbul, including Mahir Iz, Süheyl Ünver, Macid Ayral, Halim Özyazıcı and Necmeddin Okyay, often said to have been the last representative of the Ottoman tradition of book arts. Derman received his license to practice in 1380/1960 following the traditional Ottoman system by replicating a copy (taqlīd) of a quatrain in nasta‛līq (Turk. ta‛līq) by the Safavid expert Mir ‛Imad. In the fall of 1985 he joined the faculty of Marmara University and Mimar Sinan University (formerly the State Academy of Fine Arts), where formal instruction in calligraphy was reinstituted in ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Tripoli, Libya, 1945).

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the maghribī style of script typical of North Africa, setting one or two large letters against a richly textured abstract ground with accompanying excerpts from Arabic and world literature that address social and moral issues. His works have been exhibited in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions and can be found in many major museums. Chairman of Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London, he has also been involved with several other cultural and intellectual institutions there.

A. O. Ermes: Ali Omar Ermes: Art and Ideas: Works on Paper (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1992)A. O. Ermeswith S. Rizvi: Reaching Out: Conversations on Islamic Art with Ali Omar Ermes...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. Eger, 1926).

Hungarian art historian and archaeologist active in Britain. After studing Arabic and Oriental Art in Budapest, Fehérvári began his career there in 1952 at the Francis Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he moved to Vienna to begin a Ph.D. at the university of Vienna. He continued his doctoral research with a scholarship to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, working under the supervision of David Storm Rice. He was awarded a doctorate in 1961 for his study of the mihrab, and soon after he was appointed lecturer and later professor at SOAS. He conducted excavations in Iran (Ghubayra, 1971–6), Libya (Medinat al-Sultan, 1977–81) and Egypt (Bahnasa/Oxyrhynchus, 1985–7), and published on Islamic ceramics and metalwork. Following his retirement in 1991 and political changes in Hungary, he joined the Hungarian diplomatic service and was appointed Ambassador to Kuwait and other Gulf states, remaining in that position until ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. 2 Aug. 1941, Damgarten, Germany).

British historian of Islamic art and architecture. Hillenbrand was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, earning his D.Phil. in 1974. Three years earlier he had begun teaching in the Department of Fine Art in the University of Edinburgh, where he occupied the position formerly held by D. T. Rice. He remained there throughout his career, being awarded a chair in 1989. He trained several generations of younger scholars from Europe, the USA and the Middle East. His home in Edinburgh was where he and his wife Carole, a noted historian, entertained scholars in diverse fields of Islamic studies. Holder of visiting professorships at several universities in Europe and the United States, he delivered the 1993 Kevorkian Lectures at New York University. One of the most versatile and eloquent scholars of his generation, his interests focused on Islamic architecture, painting and iconography, with particular reference to Iran and early Islamic Syria....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Shiraz, Jan 15, 1955).

Iranian sculptor and installation artist, active in England. She left Iran in 1973 and studied at the Chelsea School of Art, London (1976–9), then was a junior fellow at Cardiff College of Art (1979–80). Although she settled in London and was often bracketed with a group of young British sculptors, including Anish Kapoor and Richard Deacon, her work was distinguished by the interpretation of a Persian cultural background through Western sculptural language. Her early work consisted of allusive environments and biomorphic sculptural forms, demonstrating an attempt, echoed in later work, to embody spiritual concepts physically. As it developed, her work became more autonomous, austere and concerned with materials that could symbolize a spiritual transcendence of materiality (see figs 1 and 2; see image page for alternate views). The drawings Dancing around my Ghost (graphite and acrylic on paper, 7 parts, each 1.0×1.0 m, 1992–3...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Dhaka, Dec 10, 1970).

British film maker of Bangladeshi birth. She studied at Manchester Metropolitan University (1990–92); the Rijksakademie von beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (1997–8) and Middlesex University (1995). European avant-garde film has been a major influence on Islam, and her earliest work, dating from the mid-1990s, centred on the material character of film. These interests soon evolved into an examination of how the uncanny intersects with the everyday: Refuse (1996), a set of colour slides mounted on a lightbox, depicts the varied rubbish that was left under a tree over the space of a year. Her more recent work has returned to examining the formal language of film. In Stare Out (Blink) (1998; see Wilson, 2001), the negative image of a woman’s face is projected onto a screen until it disappears with a sudden flash, leaving the viewer with an after-image lingering momentarily on the retina; the work dramatizes the activity of visual memory and the way in which the brain processes information. In the companion piece, ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

Apart from a short-lived introduction of paper currency in Ilkhanid Iran under the inspiration of Chinese models, paper money was virtually unknown in the Islamic world until the mid-19th century, as the right to strike Coins was one of the most traditional and important symbols of sovereignty. The Ottoman Empire was one of the first Islamic states to issue machine-made banknotes during the 1850s, as part of its modernization policy. As Western standards of administration, including the modern banking system, were put in force, paper money began to be circulated in Iran in 1890 by the Imperial Bank of Persia, and most of the other Muslim countries followed this trend along with their independence from Western countries in the early 20th century. Like coinage, paper money was regarded as an effective means of legitimizing political aspirations in the Islamic world, due to its state monopoly and worldwide circulation. Banknotes well reflected socio-political backgrounds, and their design was intended to proclaim Islamic identity, emphasizing Arabic or Persian calligraphy in parallel with Latin transliterations, as well as images of important antiquities, such as archaeological sites and historic mosques. Following Western models of paper money, portraits of rulers and politicians were also included. Despite a general antipathy toward figural representations, life-like depictions of public figures in banknotes served as iconographic propaganda....

Article

John Musgrove

(b Karachi, June 28, 1942).

Pakistani architect. She graduated at Oxford Polytechnic (Dip. Arch. 1964) and worked in Britain and Germany before setting up practice in Karachi (1965). Of three early houses, her own and those for Commodore Haq (1967) and Naser ud-deen Khan (1969), all in Karachi, the latter is perhaps most characteristic in amalgamating the simplicity of vernacular dry-climate houses with a sophisticated interpretation of European modernism. In these buildings the two principal aspects of Lari’s work are already evident: the development of an appropriate modern style and a major interest in the socio-cultural aspects of housing, using appropriate technologies and self-help methods. The Anguri Bagh housing (1978) at Lahore, for example, was built mainly by unskilled labour and has shady streets, shared open spaces and screened balconies to supplement the limited enclosed areas. Similar patterns are maintained in other work such as the mud-brick barracks (...

Article

(b Najaf, 1944).

Iraqi calligrapher, painter, printmaker and writer, active in Paris (see fig.). He studied painting and calligraphy in Baghdad from 1960 to 1969, and in 1969 exhibited his work at the Iraqi Artists’ Society exhibition and at the French Cultural Centre in Baghdad. The same year he went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1975. Thereafter he lived in Paris. Although influenced by traditional calligraphy, he developed his own calligraphic style, which incorporated painterly elements. In many of his works, for example Je suis le feu tapi dans la pierre. Si tu es de ceux qui font jailler l’étincelle alors frappe (1984; Paris, Inst. Monde Arab.), he employed proverbs and quotations from a range of sources. He also researched and wrote about Arabic calligraphy.

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Shiraz, 1963).

Iranian artist. Moshiri graduated from the California Institute of Arts in 1984 and experimented with installations, video art and painting before returning to Tehran in 1991. He became known for a series of large oil paintings on canvas showing monumental jars and bowls with richly textured surfaces and flowing calligraphy that he began in 2001. The form and cracked and weathered surface of the jars reflects his fascination with archaeology, and the texts on them contain poems in nasta‛līq script. In some cases, his paintings contain only letters or numbers. Inspired by calligraphic practice sheets, known as siyāh-mashq, and by the alphanumeric system (abjad), he plays with the shape rather than the meaning of words. His more conceptual pieces include a vitrine of gilded objects (2003), Rogue gun installation (2004), and Ultimate Toy–Legold (2004). He has held a number of solo exhibitions, including one at Leighton House, London (...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Qazvin, Iran, March 26, 1957).

American photographer and video artist of Iranian birth. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded a BFA in 1979 and an MFA in 1982. She became involved in the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York when she was unable to return to Iran for political reasons. Years later, having settled in New York, she began making art in response to the situation she found after a visit to the post-Shah religious state. Using the Islamic veil, or chador, she made photographs that examined stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed by the veil but also empowered by their refusal of the Western colonial gaze, as in Women of Allah (1993–7) and Rebellious Silence (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 61). In these works Neshat is often posed with a gun, her image overlaid in Islamic script, as a way of confronting the Western view of Islam as both incomprehensible and dangerous. In ...