The Met’s Islamic collection reopens!

Met Islamic Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened a newly reinstalled exhibit this week for their Islamic art collection, called the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia.

The exhibit is a treasure trove for calligraphy. From the New York Times’ art review:

The written word is omnipresent. Whether in the form of love poems, proverbs or passages from Islam’s holy book, the Koran, calligraphy spreads like a fine net over everything, creating an art that almost literally speaks.

Learn more on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.

Open call for calligraphy, ikonoMenasa TV

I was recently contacted by a content curator at ikonoTV about a unique opportunity for calligraphers interested in exhibiting their work. Ikono has an art channel running 24/7 called ikonoMenasa in the Middle East-North Africa-South Asia region, which shows art with no commercial breaks, no added narrative or sound— “a pure visual experience with no geographical or language barriers.”

If you are interested in participating, see the Open Call below, or visit the ikonoTV website.

Open Call
Submission Deadline: April 30, 2011
ikonoTV is inviting artists from all over the world to propose material for ikonoMenasa based on our current theme:

A number of cultures throughout the world draw upon calligraphy as a prominent source of artistic practice from ancient times to most recent contemporary styles and movements. A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner” (Mediavilla 1996: 18). Calligraphy has also arguably become the most venerated form of Islamic art. Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish calligraphy is associated with abstract arabesque motives on the walls and ceilings of mosques as well as on the page. Contemporary artists in the Islamic world draw on the heritage of calligraphy to use calligraphic inscriptions or abstractions in their work.

The ikonoMenasa Open Call invites people from around the world to present their work inspired by or drawing directly upon calligraphic elements.

IkonoTV offers the opportunity of increasing visibility and awareness of the Menasa culture and artists from within this region. We will broadcast your work on HDTV via satellite on Arabsat. Arabsat offers a unique platform for artistic exchange reaching more than 16.5 million households in Northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe.

If you would like to participate, please send a link of your work to

Preconditions and Requisites

We are looking for:

  • Video Art under ten minutes
  • High resolution images (JPG or TIFF format) for us to produce short films from
  • Animations
  • Motion graphics

We are not looking for:

  • Documentaries
  • Narrative videos
  • Commercial content
  • Total or partial nudity
  • Religious scenes

All material must be accompanied by the following production information:

  • Applicant’s Name
  • Country
  • Contact Information
  • Year of Production

Full credit information and links to be shown on
Ideally, a short explanatory text will accompany your submission. The art works must be your property and you must own the full copyright. This applies to all visual and audio content.

New website: From Pen to Printing Press

The Indiana University Art Museum recently launched an online exhibit entitled, “From Pen to Printing Press: Ten Centuries of Islamic Book Arts in Indiana University Collections.”

This permanent online exhibit is an adaptation of the Indiana University Art Museum special exhibition, “From Pen to Printing Press: Ten Centuries of Islamic Book Arts” which was on display from March 7-June 30, 2009. All of the materials featured on this website are housed in Indiana University collections on the Bloomington campus and are accessible to the general public.

The online exhibit features over 50 individual objects, most of which are accompanied by catalogue information and descriptions. Objects are arranged into the following categories: Writing Implements and Materials, Manuscripts, Paintings and Illustrations, Miniature Manuscripts and Scrolls, Early Printed Books, and Modern Revivals.

For more information visit the exhibit website:


Islamic Calligraphy at the Met

h2_42136Mirror, 12th century, Iran. Cast bronze. Diam. 7 5/8 in. (19.3 cm). Rogers Fund, 1942 (42.136)

I received this announcement by e-mail yesterday:

Exhibition Announcement: Masterpieces of Islamic Calligraphy from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

June 2, 2009 – September 1, 2009
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Masterpieces of calligraphy from the Islamic Art Department’s collections will be on display on the south balcony for a period of three months, showcasing the calligraphic art of the Islamic world, from Spain to south Asia and beyond. The works, ranging in date from the 8th to the 19th century, will include several richly illuminated Qur’anic manuscripts, as well as sumptuous album pages in a variety of scripts, examples of inlaid metalwork, fine ceramics, and rare textiles with calligraphic elements. Many calligraphic scripts from early kufic to the later refined nasta’liq, will be shown in a range of media, demonstrating the impact and importance of this most quintessential of art forms.

This installation is presented in conjunction with Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas, a ten-day festival and conference in New York City celebrating Islamic culture (June 5-14 2009).

(To see the other events associated with this festival, visit