Culture and Spirituality in the Traditional Arts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia

Culture and Spirituality in the Traditional Arts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia

Schneider Hall Galleries

January 17- February 17, 2013

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 17th, 5:30-7:30pm

Culture and Spirituality in the Traditional Arts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia opens on January 17th at the Hite Art Galleries, Schneider Hall, on the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus.  The show of over 100 works of art and artifacts comprises a wide variety of textiles, and examples of craftwork in leather, metal, glass, jewelry, felt, stone and clay.  Textiles span a range of uses, including clothing, camel bags, pillows, curtains, fans, hats, shoes and window hangings.  Metal wares cover a gamut from silver and brass vessels, jewelry and braziers, drinking and cooking vessels, and inlaid trays. Among wooden objects  are antique lattice windows from Egypt.  An opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 17th, 5:30-7:30pm in the Schneider Hall Galleries.

The materials on display are drawn from the Gray Henry collection, whose family has had a presence in Egypt since 1925.  Ms. Henry is also director of the Fons Vitae Press, a publisher of scholarly and spiritual texts, including translations into English of sacred Islamic writings.  The Henry collection is an extension of Gray Henry’s interest in traditional Islamic cultures and folkways.

Culture and Spirituality in the Traditional Arts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia is a collaboration between the University of Louisville’s programs and departments of Middle East and Islamic Studies, Fine Arts, and Anthropology: it was  co-curated by Professors Anita Harris and Julie Peteet from Anthropology.  The exhibition was researched, assembled and installed by students in Art History 542, a class on exhibition installation taught by John Begley and Peter Morrin.  The exhibition showcases several defining characteristics of traditional Islamic art, including calligraphy, geometrical ornamentation, and the use of the arabesque and floral themes. It celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of craftspeople across a wide spectrum of the diverse Islamic World. Photographic documentation of the uses, manufacture, and place of origin of many of the artifacts helps to contextualize the collection.

A special feature of the exhibition is the opportunity provided to compare traditional craftsmanship and more recent manufactured objects such as prayer rugs, ceramics and clothing.  Continuity in the face of change is one of the pervasive themes of the exhibition, but vibrant colors and patterns remain a constant feature of most of the works on view.

The exhibition continues until February 17th.

Gallery Hours:

Schneider Hall Galleries:

Mon.Fri., 9:00am – 4:30 pm; Sat.  10:00am- 2:00 pm & Sun., 1:00-5:00 pm

All Hite Art Institute events are free and open to the public.

For information about the Hite Art Institute, visit http://louisville.edu/art/ or call (502)-852-6794.

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