One of the world’s most prestigious events on the Islamic art and architecture calendar – the 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art – will be held this week, 10-11 November, at  Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City.  

The symposium takes place every two years and this year’s theme is, ‘The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art’.

Eminent scholars will be participating in the symposium including: Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University; Prita Meier, Associate Professor of African Art History at New York University; Esra Akcan, Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture of Cornell University; Jessica Hallett, Curator of the Early Modern Middle East at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum; and George Lane, Senior Teaching Fellow from SOAS University of London.


Panel discussions will take place on subjects such as Islamic Art in 11th-14th century Chinese port cities, Muslim-centred design and architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries, Ibn Battuta’s maritime adventures, pilgrimage and​ transfer of craftsmanship from South Asia to the Hijaz, Islamic connections between India and China during the Song and Yuan Periods, Islam and identity in new master-planned cities: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, and Islamic art and material culture in East Asia.

Symposium co-chairs are VCUarts Qatar Art History professors Dr Radha Dalal, Dr Jochen Sokoly and Dr Sean Roberts.

The symposium will also include an exhibition at the university gallery titled, ‘The Sea is the Limit’. It brings together works by international artists who are addressing issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity. The exhibition will run until 7 December.

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