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Sheikha Bodour Opens Chapters of Islamic Art Carpets Exhibition

Chair of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi inaugurates the Chapters of Islamic Art Carpets Exhibition, at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah this month.

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Chair of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi inaugurates the Chapters of Islamic Art Carpets Exhibition, at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah this month.

Byline Hazem Hussein & Muhammad Aamir

The 3-month exhibition features a selection from the Private Collection of Dr. Richard Ettinghausen, was generously donated to HoW by Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi.

HoW’s Cultural Planning Manager Fatma Al Mahmoud says that the aim of the exhibition is to showcase the cultural and historical significance of artisan carpets and textiles across the Muslim world.

Notables attended the opening night, including Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, CEO of Shurooq Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Invest in Sharjah Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh and Director General of the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council Reem bin Karam.

The four-zone exhibition features physical copies and digitised versions of books and manuscripts on Islamic carpets, a display of masterfully crafted rugs, and fascinating artwork inspired by the classic “Alshanof” motif with modern twist.

It also showcases the Ettinghausen Book Collection on Carpets, and, a stunning array of illuminated manuscripts and large-sized books on Islamic art in textiles, meticulously selected from Dr. Richard Ettinghausen’s private library.

Ranging from the uniquely weaved carpets of Mesopotamia (Iraq – Abbasid Period) to the intricate designs of Persian rugs, the SEHNA technique of Punjab, and Oriental carpets, each artwork tells a story of its people, landscape, and history, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage across the region.

Commenting on the opening night, HoW Executive Director Marwa Al Aqroubi says that the primary objective is to honour the intricate beauty of Islamic art

“We want to facilitate cultural dialogues and provide a platform for both local and international artists to showcase their impressive and creative works. We are proud to house Dr. Richard Ettinghausen’s priceless collection and we look forward to highlighting a different section of the works during the holy month of Ramadan and beyond, providing a compelling experience for visitors,” says Al Aqroubi.

There is also a collaboration between HoW and Jaipur Rugs, an Indian company renowned for its fine craftsmanship and dedication to social responsibility. Their display features Jaipur Rugs’ diverse collections, including a curated selection of vintage and antique carpets.

UAE-based artists and emerging talents are also represented, including works by the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI), a pioneering project founded with the noble aim of empowering underprivileged communities with a strong focus on women.

The coveted works from contemporary artist and designer, Sarah Al Khayyal features an installation titled ‘Where the Grid Lies’.

“Emphasizing the grid structure is important and, I honour the enduring tradition of ‘Sadu’ craftsmen,” says Al Khayyal.

Al Aqroubi says that HoW intends to showcase other curated works from the Ettinghausen collection, including Islamic architecture, travel literature, and ceramics throughout the year.

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