Turning 25: IAMM celebrates with two major exhibitions, public programmes

Two new major exhibitions lead off Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia's 25th anniversary banner year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Filepic

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) in Kuala Lumpur is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in grand style with the launch of two major exhibitions from Dec 13 to June 30.

To accompany the opening of these double-header shows – A Journey Through Islamic Art and Alif Lam Ra: Contemporary Muslim Calligraphy, this week also sees the first of many arts and culture programmes, talks, panel discussions and workshops being held to coincide with IAMM's 25th anniversary parade.

One of the programme highlights Reaching For The Stars – Exploring The Astrolabe (open to public, registration required) will be happening at IAMM's Education Workshop on Dec 14. Attendees can join in the interactive workshop on the astrolabe, which is a highly sophisticated astronomical instrument that was widely used in the Islamic World for over 1,000 years.

Led by Dr Silke Ackermann, director of the History of Science Museum at the University of Oxford, England, this workshop (in two sessions) aims to contextualise the meaning of Islamic science and asks what unites rather than divides us across the world.

Other programmes include A Demonstration Of Arabic Calligraphy by Fuad Kouichi Honda, a renowned Arabic calligrapher from Japan, on Dec 13, and The Future Of Islamic Art Museums And Galleries, Celebrating Diversity And Inclusivity panel discussion on Dec 13.

On Dec 16, IAMM's Education Workshop is hosting an ahar paper-making session (fee required). Ahar paper, coated with starch, alum, and egg whites, features a glossy surface preventing ink absorption. This allows calligraphers to easily make corrections, enhancing the beauty of intricate Islamic calligraphy with its unique texture and durability.

The rich art and design of Tezhib (fee required) is also in the spotlight on Dec 17. This IAMM workshop is designed as an immersive experience rather than a comprehensive Tezhib course. Participants will complete a simplified Tezhib project, gaining a feel for the art form, its challenges, and its rewards.

These workshop sessions are designed to accompany the main exhibitions, curated by IAMM's Dalia Mohamed and Rekha Verma, at IAMM's Special Galleries 1 and 2.

A Journey Through Islamic Art is set to highlight Muslim artisans who work in textiles, wood, metal, and ceramics. The exhibition showcases design and craftsmanship, making it a visual feast for the eyes and curious minds.

Through A Journey Through Islamic Art and Alif Lam Ra: Contemporary Muslim Calligraphy, IAMM is presenting an incredible scope of its collection, ranging from historical artefacts produced under the great Islamic dynasties from around the globe over a span of 1,400 years to the outstanding modern calligraphic art of today. With over 150 artefacts, contemporary paintings and sculpture on display, these exhibitions are a testament to the museum's dedicated efforts of collecting, preserving and exhibiting the enduring legacy of Islamic art.

Situated in the leafy surroundings of central Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens, the IAMM, with its turquoise-coloured domes, is a landmark in the capital city.

Inaugurated in 1998, IAMM houses more than 10,000 artefacts, as well as a vast collection of Islamic art books at the Scholar's Library. Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and South-East Asia are especially well represented in the galleries.

The Malaysian melting pot is also given special recognition, with an array of Malay world, India and China exhibits.

More info here on IAMM's 25th anniversary exhibitions and programmes.

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