Middle Eastern Art
Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity
Amazigh Arts in Morocco
Women Shaping Berber Identity
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0292721374

In southeastern Morocco, around the oasis of Tafilalet, the Ait Khabbash people weave brightly colored carpets, embroider indigo head coverings, paint their faces with saffron, and wear ornate jewelry. Their extraordinarily detailed arts are rich in cultural symbolism; they are always breathtakingly beautiful--and they are typically made by women. Like other Amazigh (Berber) groups (but in contrast to the Arab societies of North Africa), the Ait Khabbash have entrusted their artistic responsibilities to women. Cynthia Becker spent years in Morocco living among these women and, through family connections and female fellowship, achieved unprecedented access to the artistic rituals of the Ait Khabbash. The result is more than a stunning examination of the arts themselves, it is also an illumination of women's roles in Islamic North Africa and the many ways in which women negotiate complex social and religious issues.

One of the reasons Amazigh women are artists is that the arts are expressions of ethnic identity, and it follows that the guardians of Amazigh identity ought to be those who literally ensure its continuation from generation to generation, the Amazigh women. Not surprisingly, the arts are visual expressions of womanhood, and fertility symbols are prevalent. Controlling the visual symbols of Amazigh identity has given these women power and prestige. Their clothing, tattoos, and jewelry are public identity statements; such public artistic expressions contrast with the stereotype that women in the Islamic world are secluded and veiled. But their role as public identity symbols can also be restrictive, and history (French colonialism, the subsequent rise of an Arab-dominated government in Morocco, and the recent emergence of a transnational Berber movement) has forced Ait Khabbash women to adapt their arts as their people adapt to the contemporary world. By framing Amazigh arts with historical and cultural context, Cynthia Becker allows the reader to see the full measure of these fascinating artworks.

The Artist, the Censor and the Nude: A Tale of Morality and Appropriation
The Artist, the Censor and the Nude
A Tale of Morality and Appropriation
Hardcover      ISBN: 0997003421

This hybrid book examines the art and politics of "The Nude" in various cultural contexts, featuring books of canonical western art pirated and either digitally- or hand-censored in Iran by anonymous government workers. Author Glenn Harcourt uses several case studies brought to the fore by American painter Pamela Joseph in her recent "Censored" series. Harcourt's rigorous, culturally-measured and art historical approach complements Joseph's appropriation of these censored images as feminist critique. Harcourt argues that her work serves as a window toward larger questions in art. These include an examination of the evolution of abstraction; the role of women in western society, as seen through the history of painting the body; the effects of western art on cultures outside the west (sometimes referred to in Iran as "west-toxication"); and how artists in non-western countries, specifically those in Iran living under rules of censorship that specifically prohibit representation of the body, engage with the history of western art found in the censored books.

Harcourt's discussion of Iranian contemporary artists focuses on censorship tropes in portraiture, including works by Aydin Aghdashloo, Gohar Dashti, Katayoun Karami, Daryoush Qarezad, Manijeh Sehhi, Newsha Tavakolian, and others. Issues of privacy and security prevent some Iranian artist insiders from being named, but studio images as well as recipes for removal of the censored marks along with testimony from artists who are now living outside Iran provide reference for many English-speaking readers who don't otherwise have knowledge of the country's strict policies.

Image reproductions ranging from the pages of the censored books themselves, to Joseph's paintings, to artwork by contemporary Iranian artists, make the book visually intriguing, timely, and visually fascinating reading.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme: Incidental Insurgents
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Incidental Insurgents
Paperback      ISBN: 0884541347

Taking contemporary Palestine as a starting point, New York and Ramallah-based artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (both born 1983) fold Godard into Bola o into Victor Serge, using a suspiciously slick video component and a convoluted script made of sampled text and images.

Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition
Byzantium and Islam
Age of Transition
Hardcover      ISBN: 0300179502

This groundbreaking volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the seventh to the ninth century. As the period opened, the Empire's southern provinces--the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean--were at the crossroads of trade routes reaching from Spain to China. These regions experienced historic upheavals when their Christian and Jewish communities encountered the emerging Islamic world, and by the ninth century, an unprecedented cross-fertilization of cultures had taken place.

This extraordinary age is brought vividly to life by leading international scholars, their writings accompanied by sumptuous illustrations of the period's most notable arts and artifacts. Resplendent images of authority, religion, and trade--embodied in precious metals, brilliant textiles, fine ivories, elaborate mosaics, manuscripts, and icons, many of them never before published--highlight the dynamic dialogue between the rich array of Byzantine styles and the evolving Islamic aesthetic. With its masterful exploration of two centuries that would shape the emerging medieval world, Byzantium and Islam provides a revelatory interpretation of a period with profound ramifications for the modern era.

The Calligrapher's Garden
The Calligrapher's Garden
Paperback      ISBN: 0863566197

"A feast for the eyes and balm for the soul."--T l rama

Hassan Massoudy's elegant calligraphy depicts the four seasons of the garden. From the icy palettes of winter to delicate spring growth, and from the dazzling sunshine and blooms of summer through the fading hues of autumn, he captures in calligraphy what countless poets have crafted with words.

The proverb or quotation that inspired each artwork is handwritten in Arabic by Massoudy alongside the English texts on the facing page.

Hassan Massoudy was born in Najaf, Iraq. He moved to France in 1969, where he studied at L' cole des Beaux-Arts. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Contemporary Voices from the Asian and Islamic Art Worlds
Contemporary Voices from the Asian and Islamic Art Worlds
Hardcover      ISBN: 8857234762

For over two decades, the London-based Asian Art Newspaper has been covering the varied and evolving world of Asian and Islamic art. Published monthly since 1997, each issue features a one-to-one interview with a chosen contemporary artist. Accompanying illustrations allow the reader to form a clearer understanding of each artist's practice and vision, whether it be painting, sculpture, installation, photography, performance, video, film or music.

Contemporary Voices from the Asian and Islamic Art Worlds presents a selection of the art journal's interviews, and is the first such book to cover the Asian and Islamic contemporary art scene, comprising both internationally acclaimed artists as well as emerging voices. These include Etel Adnan, Ghada Amer, Rina Banerjee, Cai Guo-Qiang, Tehching Hsieh, Y.Z. Kami, Lee Bul, Lee Ufan, Daido Moriyama, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik and Walid Raad. Over the past 20 years, few other parts of the world have undergone as many changes as the Asian and Islamic regions; this book provides an intimate view of these developments from the dynamic perspective of artistic expression and creativity.
The Cosmic Script: Sacred Geometry and the Science of Arabic Penmanship
The Cosmic Script
Sacred Geometry and the Science of Arabic Penmanship
Hardcover      ISBN: 1620553961

A fully illustrated, landmark study of Islamic calligraphy traced back to its deepest historical and cultural roots

- Explores the sacred geometry of each letter form of the Arabic alphabet as attributed to renowned 10th-century scribe Ibn Muqla

- Traces Ibn Muqla's system to the cross-cultural encounter between Greek learning and the scientific, artistic, and philosophical pursuits of classical Islam

- A richly illustrated, two-volume presentation of decades of research with more than 430 full-color illustrations

Calligraphy is the central visual art of Islam. At its core resides a perennial challenge: What letter shapes traced by human hands are rightful bearers of the divine message? The answer lies in the "Proportioned Script" of Ibn Muqla, renowned scribe, man of letters, and minister under the great Abbasid Caliphate in 10th-century Baghdad.

Emphasizing harmony and geometry, Ibn Muqla's system has governed the practice of Arabic scribal art up to the present day. In this two-volume, richly illustrated study, Ahmed Moustafa and Stefan Sperl analyze each letter form of Ibn Muqla's perfected penmanship and share their decades of research on Islamic letter shapes, revealing the history, linguistics, philosophy, theology, and sacred geometry that underlie this spiritual art form.

In volume one the authors reveal the trilogy of prophecy, penmanship, and geometry at the foundation of Ibn Muqla's Proportioned Script. Providing a fully illustrated analysis of Islamic calligraphy's geometrical principles as transmitted in surviving writings and key manuscript sources, they examine the geometric grid of square, circle, and hexagon that informs the pen strokes of each letter shape and explore how the golden ratio appears within the matrix of the grid. They examine the development of Ibn Muqla's system in the context of the sciences, arts, and penmanship of 10th-century Baghdad and trace its origins to the cross-cultural encounter between Greek learning and the scientific, artistic, and philosophical pursuits of classical Islam. In volume two the authors analyze the calligraphic forms of each letter of the Arabic alphabet. They decode the sacred geometry of each form as it appears within the geometric grid, providing letter samples from ancient sources.

Unearthing the theoretical and scientific foundations of Arabic calligraphy, this landmark study examines the aesthetic implications of Ibn Muqla's theory for the visual, verbal, and aural arts of Islam as well as the Islamic mystical tradition.
Creative Haven Magical Mehndi Designs Coloring Book: Striking Patterns on a Dramatic Black Background
Creative Haven Magical Mehndi Designs Coloring Book
Striking Patterns on a Dramatic Black Background
Paperback      ISBN: 0486806553

Derived from the ancient art of henna body painting, 31 designs offer exciting coloring challenges. The illustrations ― featuring exotic birds and butterflies, swirling paisley prints, and fabulous flowers ― are printed on a black background that creates dramatic effects. Pages are perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display. Specially designed for experienced colorists, Magical Mehndi Designs and other Creative Haven(R) adult coloring books offer an escape to a world of inspiration and artistic fulfillment. Each title is also an effective and fun-filled way to relax and reduce stress.

Do It: [in Arabic]
Do It
[in Arabic]
Paperback      ISBN: 9948446720

Embodying Marcel Duchamp's words that "art is a game between all people of all periods," Do It in Arabic] features more than 70 artists' instructions, in both English and Arabic, that anyone can use to make a new work of art.

Since its inception in 1993, Hans Ulrich Obrist's multiplatform Do It project has been realized in more than 50 locations worldwide. Do It in Arabic] collects new instructions commissioned for the exhibition's most recent iteration organized by Sharjah Art Foundation, including those of artists Adel Abdessemed, Etel Adnan, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Mona Hatoum and Jalal Toufic. Essays by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Adila La di-Hanieh and a conversation between co-curators Hoor Al Qasimi and Obrist, which considers the relevance of Do It within the context of the Arabic-speaking world, accompany these instructions.
Egyptian Motifs in the Art Deco Style
Egyptian Motifs in the Art Deco Style
by Dover
Paperback      ISBN: 0486484467

The ancient Egyptians reveled in ornamentation, and their culture remains vibrant to this day thanks to the abundance of their richly decorated artifacts. This compilation takes an original approach to the art and architecture of the land of the Pharaohs. Drawn from a French collection of the early twentieth century, it interprets classic motifs of ancient Egypt in a dynamic Art Deco style.
Hundreds of images include serpents, scarabs, and mythological creatures as well as a profusion of stylized flowers. The individual motifs can serve as striking spot illustrations, and dozens of borders and panels can be used as repeating patterns. In addition, the overall composition of each page forms a wealth of design inspiration. This unique marriage of ancient Egyptian sources and Art Deco design offers professional designers and hobbyists a rich resource of unusual graphics.