Khatt Islami: Sacred Scripts from Islamic Africa
October 31, 2020 - August 1, 2021
Arabic calligraphy is considered the highest form of art in Islam. This writing transmits the words of God as recorded in the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Over the centuries, calligraphers have created beauty inspired by their faith. The 16 artworks on display stem from Africa and date from the mid-1800s to today. They all incorporate Khatt Islami, “Islamic line” or “Islamic design”—calligraphic writings made by Muslims. These objects include writing boards that are used in education, healing, and protection; textiles; iron blades; and a vase, created by a contemporary Sufi artist.
Co-curated by Amallina Mohamed, curator at the Somali Museum of Minnesota, and Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, curator of African Art and head of the Arts of Africa and the Americas at Mia; transcription and translation of the Arabic provided by Fahimeh Ghorbani, University of Toronto, in collaboration with Alam Saleh, Australian National University, Canberra; Fahimeh Ghorbani, Ayan Ahmed, Nahid Khan, and Dzenita Hadziomerovic also consulted on this exhibition.