Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World

1 February '18 - 22 February '18

Islamic Art Re-invented: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World is the latest addition to the range of specialized and fascinating courses taught by our Islamic Art & Architecture expert Roberta Marin. Previous courses included: Introduction to Islamic Art & Architecture, Islamic Art & Architecture in Central Asia and Iraq, Islamic Art in the Mediterranean and History of Carpets from the Islamic World.


Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 1 February '18 | 8 February '18 | 15 February '18 | 22 February '18

Islamic Art Re-invented: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World

In the last decades, there has been an increasing interest in the arts produced in the Arab World. Paintings, sculptures and installations are sold in galleries and auction houses for huge amounts of money. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about Contemporary art from the Arab World? What is the role played by Modern Art in this complex process? In this course, we will find the most suitable answers to these questions by analysing the artistic production of the renowned artists.

Class 1  Modern Arab Art. The Pioneers

In this introductory class, we will analyse the arts of the modern art groups, established by that generation of artists who strongly wished to break away from the rigid academic styles. We will mainly focus on Egypt, Iraq and North Africa.

 Class 2  Calligraphy, Poetry and the Great Literature Tradition in Contemporary Art

Verses from the Holy Qur’an, Rumi’s poetry, and refrains from well-known pop songs find a meaningful place on the canvases and installations of contemporary artists from the Arab World. In this class, we will analyse how the different declinations of writing are applied to the artistic production.

Class 3  Art as Protest

Artists have chosen different media to express themselves in regards to the political situation of their native countries or by extension the Arab World. We will have a look at their production, including the important role played by posters and comic strips as well

Class 4  Reception of Arab Art at International Level (the collectors, the markets, the academia)

In this final class, we will discuss how the collectors and buyers responded to Arab art in the last decades. There is certainly a rising interest in the arts of the Arab world both in the art market and academia, but is it going to last?

Roberta Marin on how she became interested in Islamic Art and Architecture and how her career developed from there.

After my BA, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East and I became fascinated by the rich culture of the countries I visited. I enjoyed losing myself in the souks, wandering inside the major mosques and madrasas in Cairo, Istanbul, Marrakesh and absorbing a new vocabulary of patterns and motifs. I was inspired to do an MA in Art and Archaeology with a focus on Islamic Art and Architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It was an exciting year!

I met excellent lecturers who were a source of inspiration and thanks to a scholarship by Ralph Pinder-Wilson, I had the financial support to do fieldwork for my MA thesis in Cairo. Following my MA, I worked at the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, collaborated with the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, and I  taught at various public institutions, such as the Birkbeck College, the London College of Communication, SOAS, Asia House and the University of York. The interest I developed in Islamic art and architecture during my travels and the year as MA student at SOAS have changed my life and I have to admit that they have been the best things that could have ever happened to me!

How many students will be in each class? There will be a maximum of 15 students in each class.

How will the course be taught?

Teaching in the classroom will be supported by richly illustrated PowerPoint presentations and an optional visit to the Islamic gallery of the British Museum/ V&A Museum.

Can I book a place and pay later?

No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

How can I sign up to a class?

To sign up to a course, you need to book online on the website section ‘COURSES’. You can find information about our current Islamic Art courses and book online above

What methods of payment do you accept?

Please use our online booking system (Go to ‘COURSES’ on the main menu of our website, select the course you are interested in and click ‘BOOK NOW’) to secure a seat on a course. You will need a debit or credit card to make a payment. Seats are reserved on a first come first serve basis.

What is your refund policy?

Our courses are often over-subscribed so the sooner you let us know you’ve changed your mind the better. We can then open your place up to someone else. Our rules on refunds are:

  • 75% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know more than 30 days before the course start date.
  • 50% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know within 10 – 30 days before the course start date.
  • No refund will be given if you let us know fewer than 10 days before the course start date.

What happens if you cancel the course?

We will endeavour to ensure courses are not cancelled but if this does happen we will contact you as quickly as we can to let you know and to arrange a full refund.

Please contact us if you have any further questions on 020 78321310 or


The Arab British Centre

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