Engaged with Traditional Islamic Art


Artworks that engage with the tradition of Islamic art and architecture, whether through specific styles, mediums (like painting and textiles), or techniques, such as calligraphy. Scholars, artists, and curators disagree on the use of the term “Islamic”: while many accept its convenience, they acknowledge that this title does not encompass vast regional differences. The numerous ways in which contemporary artists have incorporated elements of traditional Islamic art reflect this diversity. Hassan Massoudy’s exuberant, saturated strokes of Arabic calligraphy dance on the page, while Nasser Al Salem’s calligraphic works translate classical religious texts into unconventional media including sculpture, neon, and silkscreen. Shirin Neshat’s provocative portraits of veiled Middle Eastern women, often with lines of calligraphy overlaid on their skin, speak to the experience of women in Islamic society. Trained in the arts of Indian and Persian miniature painting, Shahzia Sikander infuses her modernized interpretations with multifaceted imagery pulled from a mixture of historical and personal references and hybridized Hindu and Muslim iconography.