Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Court
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5 June - 5 September 2011
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
23 October - 16 January 2012
Edge of Arabia donated and facilitated the acquisitions of the Illumination Diptych (Ottoman Waqf) by Ahmed Mater to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Director of LACMA Michael Govan commented, ‘I first encountered contemporary Saudi art during a trip to Riyadh in January, 2010, when I had the opportunity to see Edge of Arabia in its initial iteration. I was deeply impressed by what I saw and also by what I heard from the artists themselves. At the time, I thought that... one of Ahmed Mater’s Illuminations would make wonderful additions to LACMA’s collection. I am therefore delighted that one year later both artists are represented at LACMA. We are especially grateful for the gift of Ahmed Mater’s Illumination Dyptich (Ottoman Waqf), which was made expressly for us and looks to be one of the finest examples in this series.’
‘The artists in the exhibition were asked to interpret the underlying theme of the exhibition—generosity. In his Illumination series, Ahmed Mater draws inspiration from the Islamic arts of the book, in particular manuscripts of the Qur’an, whose pages were decorated with illuminated borders, chapter headings, and verse markers. He even includes the word waqf, a notation often found in manuscripts of the Qur’an, which in legal terms designates a charitable donation. Generally a small scale and intimate art form, Mater radically magnifies his illuminated page, creating instead a new sense of intimacy by using his pages to frame or incorporate human X-rays. Mater’s Illumination Dyptich is connected to many of the great examples of classical Islamic art in the exhibition that are similarly inscribed and thereby transformed into charitable donations. It is an absolutely wonderful work that can hold its own against some of the masterpieces of Islamic art that will surround it.
EOA.Projects works exhibited:
Ahmed Mater, Illumination Diptych, 2009