In Europe, in both a religious and secular context, we are used to art which is representational, and it is commonly held that Islamic art is non-representational. This lecture introduces Islamic art through its three most widely appreciated non-representational strands, Arabic calligraphy (the Islamic art form par excellence), geometry, and the arabesque. However, it also explores the figural side of Islamic art, and shows how widespread figural art really is - even, most surprisingly, in some religious settings. The lecture concludes by highlighting the way art reflects the deep theological divide between Sunni (orthodox) Islam and Shi'ism.
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Oxford Festival of the Arts
Audience: Open to all