From Abu Dhabi to London and New York, below, we list five excellent exhibitions on fashion, Islam, fallen kings, and more, that are worth checking out this fall.
Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient
October 2018 – January 2019
Open now at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, the museum’s temporary exhibition features approximately 50 haute couture designs created by the late Yves Saint Laurent, such as silk brocade jackets and emperor gowns, that were inspired by India, China, and Japan. The garments will be displayed alongside Asian artworks borrowed from the Guimet Museum and private collectors. The late couturier was known to seek inspiration from Asia despite having rarely visited the countries. “Asia was a recurring theme for Mr. Saint Laurent but a place he largely visited through imaginary travels, rarely in real life,” Aurélie Samuel, the exhibition’s curator, said in an interview with The New York Times. “But he knew so much about the history and heritage of these countries, and that shines through in his work. These garments are a reminder of the power of his dreams.”
The Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic World
On October 18, the British Museum will unveil its Islamic World galleries. To inaugurate the grand opening, the establishment has extended its hours until 9.30pm on Friday with a series of free-to-attend events, including storytelling, crafts, performances, and talks. Visitors can expect to see a world-class collection of paintings, textiles, shadow puppets, calligraphy, books, amulets, and more that span from the Middle East, Turkey, Asia, and Africa in an effort to promote cross-cultural dialogue and shine a light on the diversity of the Islamic world.
Arab Art Education Initiative
Location: New York
The Arab Art and Education Initiative (AAEI) in New York launched a special year-long arts program on Saturday, that aims to promote greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world through exhibitions, seminars, and education programs in schools and universities. The New York institutions participating in AAEI include the Brooklyn Museum, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Asia Society, and Columbia University. The initiative’s launch program will continue through to October 23. Some of the exhibitions and events to look forward to throughout the week include the Brooklyn Museum’s “Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart”, the ArtX Arab Street Artists Program, and a film screening and conversation with Kuwaiti artist Monira Al-Qadiri presented by MoMA.
I am Ashurbanipal: King of the World, King of Assyria
November 2018 – February 2019
Starting November 8, the British Museum will shine a light on “the greatest king you’ve never heard of”, Assyria’s last great ruler, King Ashurbanipal (r. 668–c. 631 BC). The four-month-long exhibition will explore the world of ancient Assyria through the life and legacy of the powerful, seventh-century BC king who ruled the vast empire stretching from Iran and Egypt to Turkey from his capital, Nineveh, in ancient Iraq. On display will be rare Assyrian treasures, such as stunning reliefs from Ashurbanipal’s palace, which have been kept hidden away in a basement gallery decommissioned 20 years ago. The museum will feature over 200 objects including stone sculptures, wall paintings, and furniture. It will also recreate the ruler’s library— the oldest surviving royal library in history— in addition to loans from museums including the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, as well as the Vatican. Curator Gareth Brereton said he hopes the British Museum exhibition would shed light on what has been “a terrible time for Iraqi cultural history” after the ancient sites were bulldozed and ransacked.
Roads of Arabia
November 2018 – February 2019
Location: Abu Dhabi
If you’re interested in archeology and the deep-rooted history of the Arabian Peninsula, then you don’t want to miss the Louvre Abu Dhabi‘s second exhibition of the museum’s new culture season. Entitled “Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia”, the new exhibit is set to kick off on November 8 under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and in partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), and Louvre Abu Dhabi. The exhibition is a cultural map of Saudi Arabia‘s rich heritage and history, and made its global debut in 2010 at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Presenting ancient relics from the Kingdom — objects from the Kaaba, a 6,000-year-old Anthropomorphic Stele from the Northwestern city of Ha’il, and a centuries-old funerary mask — the traveling exhibition features more than 466 archaeological pieces selected from the National Museum in Riyadh and the King Saud University Museum, among others. Chronologically arranged, “Roads of Arabia” takes visitors and history buffs on a journey through prehistoric periods, the Bronze Age, and the Islamic period until the establishment of the Kingdom throughout its three stages up to the reign of His Majesty, the late King Abdulaziz.
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