EXHIBITION EXPLORING ISLAMIC EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH AT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY

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1/13/2012

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts presents an art exhibition opening on January 30, 2012 from 5 to 7 p.m.: Samina Quraeshi: Reflections on a Sufi Path. Imaginative, vibrant, and saturated with the rich colors of South Asia, Samina Quraeshi’s photographs, calligraphic works, and mixed media montages reflect the diversity of Islamic expressions of faith. Her work is a creative response to the experience of pilgrimage to the Sufi shrines in the Indus Valley. The images evoke the music, dance, and acts of faith that animate these sacred spaces.

Award-winning author, artist and designer, Samina Quraeshi was raised in Pakistan and India. She has devoted her life to cultivating the vital relationship between art and culture through national and international initiatives as a way to foster greater understanding among people. Quraeshi says, “Sufi mysticism complicates the all-too-common view that Islam is monolithic—unable or unwilling to recognize the internal plurality of devotion and interpretation among its faithful.” Her images bring to life a landscape and a culture that reverberate with the Sufi traditions of mystical Islam.

The exhibition, which first opened at the Harvard University’s Peabody Museum in October 2009, includes photographs, calligraphy, and mixed media compositions. Samina Quraeshi: Reflections on a Sufi Pathat Monmouth University’s Pollak Gallery will be on view through March 15, 2012.

As a companion piece to the exhibition, Sacred Spaces: A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus was published by Peabody Museum Press and Mapin Publishing. Featuring vivid storytelling illustrated with over 250 color images, the book contains essays by scholars Ali S. Asani and Carl W. Ernst and by Pakistani architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz that supplement Quraeshi’s personal journey with discussions of the musical, political, and architectural dimensions of Sufism in South Asia. There will be a book signing during the opening reception.

The exhibition is part of the CARAVANSERAI initiative undertaken at Monmouth University during 2011-2012 to introduce American audiences to artists and films from the Muslim world. For more information about the exhibition and all the Caravanserai events, visit www.monmouth.edu/arts.

Samina Quraeshi is an educator, designer, artist, photographer, and author. Formerly Henry R. Luce Professor in Family and Community at the University of Miami and Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts, she is currently an Associate Visiting Artist at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Ms. Quraeshi has exhibited her artwork internationally and is the author of Legacy of the Indus: A Discovery of Pakistan, Lahore: The City Within, and Legends of the Indus. Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University, Ali S. Asani has written, “Samina Quraeshi offers us a unique account of a journey through her childhood homeland in search of the wisdom of the Sufis. Along this meandering path she has created an imaginative personal history and a rich body of photographs and works of art, all of which reflect the seeking heart of the Sufi way.”