Cultural Contacts in Islamic Art and Architecture
Author(s): Michelle Apotsos & Kathleen James-Chakraborty & Gawdat Gabra et al & Bernard O’Kane
Reviewed by: Cleo Cantone, London, UK
As the world of politics continues to focus on fighting and division, the world of art softens the edges of human misunderstanding, maintaining a patina of harmony. Imbricated in this dialectical dichotomy is ‘Islam’ and its ‘art’, one might even go so far as to claim that the combination of those two words provide a small sanctuary for lovers of art, heritage and culture wherein to sit back and enjoy what inspired human beings have created for the benefit of us all. This may seem a contraction to what I wrote in my previous article where I pointed out the distinction between this ‘safe’ and mostly ‘dead’ (i.e. long past) artistic output from majority Muslim lands and the ‘Islamic terrorist’ face of contemporary Islam portrayed by the media. Here I want to explore the bi-cultural element in recent scholarship on Islamic art and architecture, focusing on the interplay of Christianity and Islam, Orthodox versus ‘nonOrthodox’ Islam, North-West relations....