One of the world’s most prestigious events on the Islamic art and architecture calendar, the 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, will take place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) on November 10 and 11.
The symposium takes place every two years. This year’s theme is, ‘The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art’. It will feature panel discussions and debates on subjects ranging from “Seas Imagined and Depicted in Middle Eastern Art, Maps and Geography” and “Transoceanic Movement, Muslim-Centred Design, and Architecture in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries” to “Islamic Art in 11th-14th Century Chinese Port Cities”.
Eminent scholars from institutions such as Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, SOAS University of London, University of Vienna, and University of Melbourne will be speaking at the symposium. The symposium co-chairs will be VCUarts Qatar Art History professors Dr Radha Dalal, Dr Jochen Sokoly, and Dr Sean Roberts.
The Art History programme at VCUarts Qatar is the only undergraduate degree programme of its kind in the Gulf region and offers a distinctive concentration in Islamic art within a global perspective.
The programme is designed to focus on the interchange between the Islamic World, the Western World and the non-Islamic cultures of Asia.
The symposium will include an exhibition at the University’s Gallery, titled, “The Sea is the Limit”. The exhibition will bring together works by international artists who are addressing the issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity. Using the language of painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation and virtual reality, the artists explore some of the complex experiences and emotions associated with borders and migration, statelessness and belonging.
The opening reception will take place on November 10 at 5.30pm and the exhibition will run until December 7, 2019. The symposium is co-sponsored by VCUarts, VCUarts Qatar, and Qatar Foundation.
The event has been held every two years since 2004. Since its establishment, the symposium has attracted over 2,200 attendees from every continent; hosted over 70 speakers, including the leading scholars, curators, and practitioners of Islamic art; enabled over 90 scholars of Islamic art and culture to come to the symposium as a Fellow, and generated the publication of six books by Yale University Press.
Previous keynote speakers have included HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Reach Out to Asia; and contemporary artists Shirin Neshat, and Lalla Essaydi.