“Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World” is more than a film being shown at the Columbia Museum of Art on Nov. 13.
It’s a peek at a different world, an opportunity to understand a culture and the people who live in it.
The Columbia World Affairs Council and the Carolina Peace Resource Center, in partnership with the Columbia Museum of Art, are showing screening of “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World” with an introduction by renowned artist and author Steven Naifeh. A Q&A will follow the film.
“This film and discussion offers an opportunity to learn more about a magnificent cultural and artistic tradition that has been instrumental in shaping world history,” said Dickson Monk, executive director of the Columbia World Affairs Council. “Islamic art has brought us game-changing advancements in mathematics, philosophy, and expression over centuries. Also, most importantly, it is both beautiful and fun.”
The documentary, narrated by Academy Award-winner Susan Sarandon, encompasses nine countries and more than 1,400 years of history as it explores Islamic art. It shows objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. The film also examines the unique ways in which Islamic art turns calligraphy and the written word into masterpieces and develops water into an expressive, useful art form.
“It is important to understand the world around us and fundamental to that is understanding the people who live in it,” Monk said. “I would argue that it has become more important considering the global socio-political climate of our time.”
Monk is excited to have Naifeh at the screening. As the son of U.S. diplomats, Naifeh grew up exploring the artistic cultures of the world. During his undergraduate studies at Princeton and his graduate research at Harvard, Naifeh’s purview expanded beyond the ancient abstract works of his childhood to include the formal academies of industrialized Europe. His research focused on 19th and 20th century Western European and American art.
Naifeh co-wrote a biography “Jackson Pollock: An American Saga,” which won a Pulitzer Prize and was the basis for an Oscar-winning film. For the past 30 years, he has lived in South Carolina.
The event is part of the University of South Carolina’s International Education Week.
“The Columbia World Affairs Council is pleased to partner with the Carolina Peace Resource Center and the Columbia Museum of Art to present this film in hopes of deepening our understanding of the rich and ancient tradition of Islamic art and culture,” Monk said. “We are honored to have the talented Steven Naifeh join us to lend his knowledge of these traditions to our discussion. It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to better understand cultures around the world through whose reflection we can better understand ourselves.”
If you go
Documentary screening: “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World”
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13.
WHERE: Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.
More at the museum
USC’s International Education Week
This week of activities aims to promote and celebrate international exchange worldwide, with the goal of promoting communication between different cultures at USC and to help develop global-ready USC graduates. It’s going on Nov. 13-17.
A complete list of International Education Week activities is available at www.sc.edu.
International Bazaar on Greene Street
Celebrate cultures from around the world with dancing, music, food, and creative displays.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, along Greene Street near the Russell House.
Arts and Draughts
Enjoy beer tastings from Golden Road Brewing, live music, DIY art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts and tours.
Tickets are $9 at www.columbiamuseum.org.
7-11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10 at Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.