Archive for category Subject: Islamic art

Islamic Art Meets British Flowers || Hadil Tamim and Adrian Lawson

This is one of those fusions that either works brilliantly or falls horribly flat. In Hadil Tamim’s sensitive hands it is, thankfully, the former. Of Palestinian heritage, but having lived in Reading for the last two decades, she is well-versed in both traditions in a neat symbiosis of the two.

Using British architectural design as the basis for cartouches, but with the vibrant colours of Islamic tradition, she creates images which are unique, yet also not alien, certainly to this English eye. It’s also worth remarking that anything less than excellent reproduction could mar an otherwise excellent idea, but Two Rivers have, in their usual way, stepped fully up to the plate.

Although this is not an instructional book, Hadil does show and explain how the images were built up, and the architectural shapes adapted. You might not want to emulate her work completely, but it is full of intriguing ideas.

For each flower, naturalist Adrian Lawson provides a concise but informative commentary that nicely complements the images.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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Reflections on Islamic Art || ed Ahdaf Soueif

To say that Muslim culture is overlooked is both true and untrue at the same time. True because we in the West are only peripherally aware of it and untrue because, in its own context, it’s part of everyday life; more, possibly than art and culture are to us.

If you’re looking for a starting point, this labour of love probably isn’t it. Turn the pages and what you’ll see is a lot of text and some often quite small, albeit beautifully reproduced, illustrations. The thing is, though, that this isn’t about art, it’s about how we react and interact with art. Again, for the Westerner, this is a slightly alien concept. Our attitude tends to be “don’t talk about it, do it”, but here we come back to the notion of art and culture being interwoven with daily life. At this point, the idea of meditations (Ode on a Grecian Urn, anyone?) starts to make sense.

I like the huge variety of objects that are included here – pottery, fabrics, calligraphy, painting – as well as the range of different people from different cultural backgrounds who have contributed. This isn’t a closed book, something for the specialist, the culturally or religiously linked, but rather something we can all enjoy, as long as we understand what it is we’re looking at.


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