The first Islamic Art Circle in the north of England to be held at University of York

The first Islamic Art Circle in the north of England to be held at University of York

The first Islamic Art Circle in the north of England to be held at University of York

YORK, 13-Oct-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — The University of York will host the first Islamic Art Circle in the north of England – a series of talks exploring Islamic art and heritage.

A collaboration between the University’s Islamic Society and the Department of History of Art, the Islamic Art Circle events are the first to be hosted outside of London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Launching on Thursday 13 October, nine events will take place throughout the year, all aimed at a non-specialist audience.

The launch event, Storytelling in the Great Mongol Shahnama, will see Professor Robert Hillenbrand, author of ten books on Islamic architecture and paintings, speak on the Shahnama – the national epic of Iran. Part myth, legend, history and romance, the Mongol Shahnama was commissioned by a member of the royal family in the early fourteenth-century, after the Mongol conversion to Islam.

Subsequent events include Exploration, Orientalism and Revival: the European Discovery of Egypt’s Islamic Heritage on 17 November, and William Holman Hunt: Pre-Raphaelite and Orientalist on 1 December.

Saher Ahmed, Secretary of the University of York Islamic Society, said: “The Muslim world spans from the borders of China to Spain, and offers a rich and varied artistic heritage. Indeed Yorkshire is home to a large Muslim community with roots in South Asia. The Islamic world’s architectural legacy includes the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the minaret of Jam in Ghor, Afghanistan. The material legacy includes ceramics, metalwork, textiles, and beautifully illustrated manuscripts.”

“Far from popular misconception, a rich and diverse artistic heritage exists, and continues to flourish within the Muslim world today. We are launching the York Islamic Art Circle to encourage discussion, learning and debate, open to the general public. In the coming months, we will explore Persian painting, orientalism, mythology, ceramic art, Islamic gardens, overland travel in the Islamic eastern Mediterranean, textiles, and cross-cultural exchange. All of our talks are aimed at a non-specialist audience – you do not have to be a specialist to enjoy Islamic art.’

The first Islamic Art Circle event will take place from 6.00 – 8.00pm on Thursday 13 October at the University of York’s Ron Cooke Hub. For tickets, visit:

Further information:

  • For more information about Islamic Art Circle events,
  • Professor Robert Hillenbrand is Professor Emeritus of Fine Art at Edinburgh University and Professor of Islamic Art at St Andrews University. He has written ten books on Islamic architecture and painting, edited seven books and co-edited four more. He has also published some 120 articles on aspects of Islamic art and architecture. He has held visiting professorships at seven universities and was Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge in 2008. In 2006 he was awarded the Book of the Year prize of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Shahnama: The Visual Language of the Book of Kings. He has visited Iran many times, and travels regularly to Central Asia, Northern India and the Middle East.
  • For more information about the University of York’s Department of History of Art, visit:

Contact details

Saskia Angenent
Press Officer
Tel: work 01904 323918

SOURCE: University of York


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