Geometric Aljamia

Geometric Aljamia

November 14, 2014 - February 21, 2015
Zuckerman Museum of Art | Mortin Gallery

Purchase the catalogue!

By addressing the fundamental geometry embedded in two-dimensional art, this exhibition acknowledged hybrid connections between Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and the Middle East. In the past, aljamia played a significant role in preserving Islam and the Arabic language in the West. By understanding the visual arts as a transliteration of one form of thinking to another, this exhibition revisited the ongoing impact of Islamic art, science, and philosophy throughout the world today.

Since ancient times, geometric perfection (circle, square, and triangle) has been thought to convey sacred and universal truths by reflecting the fractal interconnections of the natural world. One finds these similarities across cultures embedded in many diverse ethnic patterns. Incorporating these patterns into works of art promotes access through recognition and this commonality creates a connection. Geometric ornamentation may have reached a pinnacle in the Islamic world, where it has been assimilated into all aspects of everyday life. The exhibition examined an extended cross- cultural integration of the arts into life.

The paper cut installations of Amin, Gower, and Korchi use sacred geometry to blend subtle imperfection with structured repetition. Townsend is inspired by Koran Illumination Tehzip patterns in the Ottoman style for her wall tracings and papercut while Sahebzada draws upon the Behzad School of Illumination for his calligraphic wall tracing and papercut. Benitez uses linear perspective as a metaphor for Western Civilization. Their shared artistic and intellectual interests speak to the larger hybrid relationship that the West shares with the Middle East, and especially with the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization.

Geometric Aljamía was presented in partnership with the Kennesaw State University Year of the Arabian Peninsula program.


Image: Installation image of the exhibition. Photo by Mike Jensen.