Sheikha Bodour opens 'Chapters of Islamic Art: Carpets' exhibition in Sharjah - GulfToday

Sheikha Bodour opens 'Chapters of Islamic Art: Carpets' exhibition in Sharjah


Sheikha Bodour being briefed after the inauguration of the exhibition at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah on Monday. WAM

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has inaugurated the “Chapters of Islamic Art: Carpets” exhibition, at House of Wisdom (HoW) in Sharjah.

The 3-month exhibition, inspired by a section of “Chapters of Islamic Art: The Private Collection of Dr Richard Ettinghausen,” which was generously donated to HoW by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, highlights the cultural and historic significance of artisan carpets and textiles across the Muslim world.

Fatma Al Mahmoud, HoW’s Cultural Planning Manager, toured Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, along with Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Shurooq; Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah; and Reem bin Karam, Director General of the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, through the 4-zone exhibition, which featured physical copies and digitised versions of books and manuscripts on Islamic carpets, a display of masterfully crafted rugs, and fascinating artwork inspired by the classic "Alshanof" motif with modern twist.

Bodour-Carpet-Exhibiton Sheikha Bodour during her visit to the exhibition at House of Wisdom.

House of Wisdom's expansive lobby has been ingeniously transformed into an exhibition space, where visitors are first greeted by the Ettinghausen Book Collection on Carpets. This curated exhibition showcases a stunning array of illuminated manuscripts and large-sized books on Islamic art in textiles, meticulously selected from Dr Richard Ettinghausen's private library.

Ranging from the uniquely weaved carpets of Mesopotamia (Iraq - Abbasid Period) to the intricate designs of Persian rugs, the SEHNA technique of Punjab, and the indelible Oriental carpets, each artwork tells a story of its people, landscape, and history, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the Muslim world.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Executive Director of House of Wisdom, said, "Our primary objectives for this event are to honour the intricate beauty of Islamic art, facilitate cultural dialogue, and provide a platform for both local and international artists to showcase their impressive and creative artwork. We are proud to house Dr Richard Ettinghausen’s priceless collection at HoW, and we look forward to highlighting a different section of the works during the holy month of Ramadan and beyond, providing a compelling experience for visitors.”

Bodour-opens-Exhibiition Sheikha Bodour being briefed during her visit to the exhibition at House of Wisdom.

The second zone of the exhibition is the fruit of a collaboration between HoW and Jaipur Rugs, an Indian company renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and dedication to social responsibility.

Their retail display features Jaipur Rugs' diverse collections, including a curated selection of vintage and antique carpets.

Zone 3 showcases contemporary UAE-based artists.

Central to this zone is the inclusion of the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI), a pioneering project founded with the noble aim of empowering underprivileged communities with a strong focus on women.

While Zone 4 of the exhibition is dedicated to encouraging artist-community engagement, it celebrates HoW’s efforts to support local and emerging talents.

Here, HoW has collaborated with the young contemporary artist and designer, Sarah Al Khayyal, to display her art installation called “Where the Grid Lies.”

Through this artwork, Sarah emphasises the importance of the grid structure, honouring the enduring tradition of “Sadu” craftsmen.

Through the future iterations of this exhibition, HoW intends to annually shed light on additional chapters of Islamic art embedded in the Ettinghausen collection, including Islamic architecture, travel literature, and ceramics.

The House of Wisdom was designed as a cultural hub that offers various means of learning that shifts the centre of focus towards people, interactions, and experiences.

From the open spaces to the wide variety of programmes and events, it is creating a hub for cultures, ideas, and interests to interact in infinite possible ways, creating with it new opportunities for innovation, creativity, education, and entertainment.

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