Inside the walls of the ancient Mohammed Ali mansion, where the beauty of nature perfectly matched the glory of the golden era, people were invited to discover the harmony of modesty and Islamic manuscripts’ magnificence, in an exhibition that combined the heritage of Islamic art with a new creative perspective.
A portrait, featuring young ballerinas flying with their hands crossed above their heads and with wide opened legs as they are flying viewed from the windows of Islamic manuscripts shapes, standing beside another necklace designed as old Islamic era accessories, grabbed most people’s attention at the opening of Islamic Manuscripts’ Shining exhibition.
The exhibition is organised by the Arab Organisation for Heritage and Islamic Arts in cooperation with Aswan University, and under the supervision of the Ministry of Antiquities.
By displaying several types of portraits, sculptures, lanterns, and accessories—all sharing the theme of Islamic designs and manuscripts—the exhibition aims to revive the wasted legacy after it has been invaded by the western modern art style.
The exhibition is also a part of a larger social activity aimed at reviving everything that is related to Islamic designs called Highlighting the Art of Islamic Manuscripts.
For three days, starting from Tuesday, seminars and workshops will be held for students in order to discuss methods of combining modern art with Islamic heritage, including shapes, designs, colours, and used materials.
“Organising such an exhibition in Cairo by members belonging to Aswan University is an expanding step in order to make Islamic art popular across all of Egypt from south to north,” said Abdel Kader Mohammed, president of Aswan University. “Our message is to help youth revive their identity and heritage and save the individuality that we inherited from our ancestors.”
The art pieces were made by both students at the faculty of applied art, Aswan University, and professional painters and professors who wanted to take part of such an initiative.
The displayed art pieces expressed the current social concerns and fears, yet with Islamic designs. The ballerina portrait was a symbol of freedom people might see enclosed within Islamic boundaries.
Painter Azza Fakhry wanted to combine ballet as a modern dance that resembles liberty, beauty, and calmness with Islamic geometric patterns, which some might consider crossing borders, to come up with a mesmerising final creation showing the beauty of both sides.
“I aimed to send the message that we can freely live our lives without giving up the boundaries society and religion frame us with and still enjoy what we’re doing,” she explained.
This social initiative created a wider aspect of modesty and legacy.
“This initiative spreads Islamic culture in a creative and contemporary form,” says Ahdab Hosney, the initiative’s main organiser. “These art pieces resemble the different eras of Islamic rule since it began until today; each presenting a different aspect of a different era.”
The contemporary art can be detected from the colours and patterns and the legacy is all in the Islamic shapes.
Mohammed Abdel Latif, professor of Islamic and Coptic monuments at Mansoura University, expressed his astonishment of the ideas and their methods. “These productions don’t only highly indicate the talent of our artists, but it also shows that Islamic art is not trapped within a certain era or a specific platform. The creativity of combining the past and the present in one shown piece is mind-blowing,” he concluded.