Art professor displays ceramics at International Exhibition

Dow’annahar (Daylight) by Husny Dahlan

Nour (Light) by Husny Dahlan

Dr. Husny Dahlan, Associate Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is currently showing his ceramics at the Third Annual International Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art, which opened earlier this month at the LuminArte Fine Arts Gallery in Dallas, Texas.

Two of Dahlan’s teapots entitled Nour (Light) and Dow’annahar (Daylight) are included in this exhibition.

The series continues his exploration of the modern vessel, where a utilitarian ware is transformed into a sculptural object to reflect a whimsical interplay of form and light. The Pine Bluff artist, who prefers to remain at the forefront of contemporary art, has been successful at challenging our traditional notion of design and utility by reinterpreting classic Islamic patterns and shapes into a new visual expression.

Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Chair of the Department of Art History at Cornell University, previewed and selected the artworks for the show. He reminded viewers in his foreword to the catalog that for a long time “the academic conception of ‘Islamic art’ has been shackled with Orientalist assumptions: Islamic art was expressed only in specific materials (carpets, metalwork, architecture); addressed only a limited number of themes; and died out with the advent of modernity.”

This once prevailing view is now mostly a thing of the past. The styles, themes and modes of expression in the exhibition attest to the artists’ engagement with relevant issues of the day ranging from feminism and politics to culture and spirituality.

The works presented are equally as diverse as the participants. From painting and sculpture to large-scale installation the work of 46 artists from 17 nations from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas are featured in the show. About half of the artists are non-Muslim, inspired by some aspects of Islamic art and culture. All are adding fresh insights to our appreciation of contemporary Islamic art by redefining their roles as global artists, storytellers, social critics, visual poets and visionaries.

In Mr. Dahlan’s view the exhibition lends an important contribution to American culture. “The artworks are excellent and timely,” said Dahlan. I wish members of our local community could see the show.

The exhibition will be on view at LuminArte Fine Art Gallery in downtown Dallas until November 29, 2014. For more information, call (214) 914-4503.


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