As part of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah’s (DAI) 25th cultural season, the “al-Fann: Art from the Islamic Civilization” exhibition opened at the Amricani Cultural Centre on November 5. The opening was held under the auspices of the Minister of Information, Mohammad Nasir Abdullah al-Jabri and in the presence of the Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kamel Sulaiman Al-Abduljalil, friends of the DAI and members of the Diplomatic Corps in Kuwait.


“al-Fann: Art from the Islamic Civilization”, which has been shown in Austria, Bahrain, Italy and Korea features objects from The al-Sabah Collection presented in two primary themes. The section displays the objects in chronological order, from the 7th century CE “Origins of Islamic Art”through the 16th century CE “Apogee of the Great Empires,” including the Ottomans, the Safavids in Iran and the Mughals in the Indian subcontinent. The second theme shifts the focus to the four dominant motifs in art from the Islamic world: Calligraphy, Arabesque, Figurative and Repeating Geometric Patterns.


“This exhibition was created with a view of introducing the public to the great and multi-faceted nature of Islamic culture through one of its finest manifestations” said exhibition curator Giovanni Curatola. “The ultimate goal of presenting a panorama of the variety and wide-ranging forms of Islamic art, the guiding principles of my selections was fairly straightforward: to strike a balance between an array of geographic areas and to display art from historic periods from the eighth to the eighteenth centuries.”


With more than 200 objects from the al-Sabah Collection on view, visitors have the opportunity to discover and further explore the richness of the exhibition. Whether enamored with a 10th century CE Qur’an box and a pair of exquisite Mughal earrings, visitors to “al-Fann: Art from the Islamic Civilization” will enjoy discovering the skills and abilities of centuries of artisans working in the Islamic world.
“Fann, an Arabic word, is art undescribed and unrestricted. It is the effort and the object; the intent and the outcome,” noted DAI Director-General Sheikha Hussa Sabah Al-Salem al-Sabah in her forward in the exhibition’s catalog. “The exhibition celebrates the artisan who creates to share his/her passion with an audience. Only when the work is shared and appreciated does it become ‘art’.”