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Donnelly Library Screens Islamic Art Documentary

10/17/2013

Ester OFearghail

Ester OFearghail

Las Vegas, N.M – Highlands University’s Donnelly Library presents a screening of the acclaimed PBS documentary Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

Donnelly Library is at 802 National Ave. and the free public screening will be in Room 141.

The 2012 film is narrated by award-winning actress Susan Sarandon and is filmed on location in nine countries, from Iran to West Africa. It explores Islam’s contribution to world art and culture during the last 1,400 years.

The section of the documentary that examines the unique ways in which Islamic art turns calligraphy and the written word into masterpieces will be screened at Donnelly. Ester OFearghail, Highlands University art history professor, will give a lecture and lead a discussion at the screening.

“Calligraphy is a central feature of Islamic art, culture and history because it reflects the Koran, the holy book of Islam,” OFearghail said. “We will look at how this calligraphy evolved over time, and how this beautiful writing becomes decorative. I’m fascinated by the fact that when writing becomes ornamental, words and design become one.”

OFearghail said her talk will also focus on the artistic skill and technique involved in creating the calligraphy, whether it is used in a manuscript or it graces the architecture of the famed Alhambra Islamic palace in Granada, Spain.

“The goal of calligraphers who transcribed the Koran was to inspire the reader to see the divine,” OFearghail said.

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible Worldis included in the National Endowment for the Humanities project Bridging CulturesBookshelf: Muslim Journeys.

Thanks to the NEH, this year Donnelly Library received the Muslim Journeys collection of 25 books, four films, and other resources. April Kent, Donnelly assistant librarian and head of public services, wrote the successful NEH grant for the collection.

Highlands is the only university in the state to receive the Muslim Journeys collection.

“I hope the campus and broader community will take the opportunity to see this film and hear about Islamic calligraphy from an art history faculty member, and that it will inspire them to explore other materials on Islamic art in the Muslim Journeys collection,” Kent said.

Kent added that all the Muslim Journeys books and materials, including Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, may be checked out at Donnelly.

The collection is featured in Donnelly Library’s fall reading and discussion group titled “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys.”

“Two books remain in the fall reading group and new members are always welcome,” Kent said. “On Nov. 7, we’ll be discussing Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi, and the Dec. 5 book is Minaret by Leila Aboulela. The discussions begin at 7 p.m.”

For more information, contact Kent at ajkent@nmhu.eduor visit the library.

The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging CulturesBookshelf: Muslim Journeys project was created in collaboration with the American Library Association. The Carnegie Corporation of New York provided grant support for the project. The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art provided additional support for the arts and media components of the project.



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