ISLAMIC ART AT THE LOUVRE MUSEUM: A SUPERB EXHIBITION OF MUSLIM ART TO FIGHT ISLAMOPHOBIA

Islamic art at the Louvre Museum: a superb exhibition of Muslim art to fight Islamophobia

ISLAMIC ART AT THE LOUVRE MUSEUM: A SUPERB EXHIBITION OF MUSLIM ART TO FIGHT ISLAMOPHOBIA

Added Sep 22, 2021 – 2 minutes read

The Louvre museum is organizing exhibitions of Islamic art to combat rising Islamophobia. The initiative, headed by the Louvre, seeks to foster a more nuanced understanding of Islam. 18 art exhibitions dedicated to Islamic art will be held in 18 cities over the next four months. Each of the 19 invited artists are international artist from Algeria, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt.

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 Louvre Museum- Department of Islamic Art – Poetic jousting – Ceramic – Iran (Isfahan) – Mid-17th century © MOSSOT

The idea is to demonstrate that Islam has long been an important part of French heritage, according to Yannick Lintz, who heads the Louvre’s Islamic department. The French education and culture ministers are expected to make an announcement on 2021, November 20,  that will reveal the simultaneous opening of 18 art exhibitions that are dedicated to Islamic art in 18 cities.

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Over the course of these four months, the Louvre will be lending around 60 of its most important pieces. These graphic works will be on display next to works that came from local and national museums, libraries, and churches. Additionally, Yannick Lintz is looking to overthrow established clichés about Islamic culture, particularly as it pertains to the Arab world. She demonstrates that “the culture is both religious and profane, more diverse than the Arab civilization, and includes depictions of people, even the Prophet Muhammad.”Each exhibition is accompanied by a short film that shows places and monuments linked to the featured works of art. Discussion forums will be provided for students and others, which will be jointly administered by associations and religious organizations. Each of the nineteen invited artists are international artists from Algeria, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt, and they are participating in the project to show their works. Strasburg, France, also established an even more ambitious show for Islamic art in its city museums.

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Dish with peacock in the “saz” style. Louvre Museum – Department of Islamic Art © Marie-Lan Nguyen

City mayors were delighted by the project’s response, according to Yannick Lintz. “It turned out there were more candidates than we’d anticipated, so we had to select one,” she says.

Traditionally, large-scale cultural events are very rare in France, as most of the country’s cultural venues are located in the nation’s capital. This plan was formed by President Emmanuel Macron’s statement to a Paris audience last October, where he condemned “the radical Islamic tendencies” and suggested that the state foster a different type of Islamic culture.

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Gunpowder horn. Louvre Museum – Department of Islamic Art © Marie-Lan Nguyen

 The rise in anti-Islamic sentiment following recent terrorist attacks has been dramatic. Further adding to the anxiety are preparations for the next presidential election in April. Overall, there was a 22% decrease in racist attacks in France, according to the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, but double on the Muslim community.

More information (in french):  18 exhibitions 18 cities, from Nov. 20, 2021 to March 27, 2022

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