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"Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World" Premiers Next Week on PBS

Published: 22/08/2012 10:14:33 AM GMT
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27 June 2012 PBS will premier its state-of-the-art 90-minute documentary on Islamic art from 8-10:30 p.m. on WTVP-HD on Friday, (more)

27 June 2012

PBS will premier its state-of-the-art 90-minute documentary on Islamic art from 8-10:30 p.m. on WTVP-HD on Friday, 6 July 2012.

The feature, narrated by Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon, is being broadcast as part of the PBS Arts Summer Festival, which has the mission of expanding the scope and diversity of the arts on television, with a multi-part weekly series and new original online content .

The program transports viewers to nine countries and across 1,400 years of cultural history to explore the astonishing riches of Islamic art and architecture. The program is part of the PBS ARTS SUMMER FESTIVAL, a seven-week event with films that highlight art, artists and performances from around the world.

The documentary is directed by Rob Gardner, whose credits include "Fall of Islamic Spain" and "Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think".

"Though Islamic art differs from Western art in some respects, like all art it carries the values and perspectives of its creators, as well as those who commissioned it — whether religious or secular," says Gardner. "The film provides a never-before-seen window into a culture of increasing importance to America, and sheds light on the shared histories between Western culture and Islamic culture, revealing over time much more continuity than division."

Developed over two years, ISLAMIC ART presents breathtaking high-definition footage of Egypt, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran, Spain, Mali and India. Showcasing an extraordinary array of architecture, textiles, paintings and metalwork, the scenes in the film illuminate the history of a unique culture and reflect the Islamic world as it is today.

"Audiences will explore exotic vistas that many of us have never seen, gaining access to some of the Islamic world's most sacred places," says Kronemer, who along with Michael Wolfe, is co-Executive Producer of the documentary. "In addition to its beauty, the film has real weight, correctly depicting the relationship between Islamic and Western civilizations not as a centuries-long deadlock, but as an often creative conversation between powerful forces."

A cross-pollination of ideas is "what distinguishes most of the great masterworks of Islamic art. The traditional lands of the Islamic world have always been at a crossroads of trade and migrations of different kinds. The interaction with other people, and with other religions, has always been rich and that shows in the history of Islamic art", explains Kronemer.

The film is organised around five themes to show common ideas in Islamic art: Word , focusing on calligraphy and Qur'anic manuscripts; Space , which looks at how architecture is used; Ornamentation , or decorative arts; Colour , which looks at geometric and floral patterns; and Water , which highlights gardens.

Unity Productions Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to promote peace through the use of media, is behind the documentary film about the masterpieces of Islamic art and architecture.



Naazish YarKhan, "Cross-pollination distinguishes great Islamic art" Common Ground News Service June 26, 2012

Reproduced with permission from Islam Today