Islamic artists will often break a pattern deliberately, interrupting the order and logic of a design. Geometric forms were thought to embody the divine order of the universe, and art revealed God's true nature through geometric design.
Shouldn't the most authoritative of our cultural institutions, certainly those renown globally, be so sensitive as to represent the history of international art with the like mindedness of diplomats to mitigating the injuries historically wrought by political and cultural colonizations?
Time and again, while engaging with Muslim youth at schools, universities and community forums, a common anecdotal thread characterizing their ultimate educational experience is underreported bias-based bullying and otherwise discriminatory incidents at school. Hence, the need for dialogue.
"I used black and white film in a symbolic way to show that issues of human rights, women's rights, and refugee aid are 'black and white' -- as to say that humanity should get straight to the point and help others in need."
Far from passive observers, these are artists whose works speak distinct messages -- some of spiritual intimacy, others of empowerment, education and dialogue and all embody the intersection of the American and Muslim cultural identity.
You don't need to read Arabic to see the beauty of this writing, or to see why it would quickly be incorporated into so many other artistic forms. The simple elegance of plain black script circling the rim of a white ceramic plate or bowl speaks for itself and is universal.
Such is the vision of the "Better World" that Islamic civilization created from the eighth century onward. These intrepid empire-builders managed to create great palace-garden complexes, where water is the central element.
Two buildings that represent a great contrast and diversity in Islamic architecture are the Taj Mahal in India, one of the most memorable buildings in human history, and the Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali, the largest mud construction in the world.
Whatever the odds, there was a lot to be said about religion and religious art at TEFAF. In virtually ever section of the fair, there were at least dozens of examples of fascinating works with religious content and themes.