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“Islamic Art: Between Preservation and Destruction” Scholarly Presentations at UNC Asheville Sept. 19-30


Navina Najat Haidar, curator in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

UNC Asheville will present Islamic Art: Between Preservation and Destruction, a series of scholarly presentations and exhibitions, free and open to the public, Sept. 19-30.

”The military and political struggles in the Muslim world are placing humanity’s most ancient and vulnerable cultural heritage at risk,” said UNC Asheville Professor of History Samer Traboulsi, who is convening the Islamic art presentations. “This is a crucial time to discuss the issues involved in presenting and preserving Islamic art and understanding the politico-religious factors putting it at risk.”

Islamic Art: Between Preservation and Destruction will include:

Sept. 19-30 – Photo exhibition: Ravaging the Past: Radicalism, Civil Wars, and the Destruction of World Heritage in the Middle East and Beyond – This exhibit, curated by UNC Asheville Lecturer in Art History Eva Bares and her students, will focus on the art and architecture that has been destroyed by radical groups throughout the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and Mali. This exhibition will be on view in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library Foyer during regular library hours,

Sept. 19 – Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum: Collections, Interpretations, Presentations – Navina Najat Haidar, curator in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, will discuss the museum’s major exhibition, offering an interpretive approach that addresses the challenges of presenting the artistic heritage of Islam in post-9/11 New York. The talk will present the galleries, explain their philosophical approach and share perspectives on the works of art in the museum’s collection. 7 p.m. in Humanities Lecture Hall.

Sept. 20 – Saving History (for the Future) – Eva Bares, lecturer in art history at UNC Asheville, will present examples of both successful and unsuccessful preservation of works of art and architecture, and make a case for our continued engagement and interest in the conservation of cultural artifacts. Noon in Humanities Lecture Hall.

Sept. 21 – Documentary Film: Paradise Found, The Wonder of Islamic Art – This film was produced for England’s Channel 4 by Waldemar Januszczak, one of the U.K.’s leading art critics, formerly with The Guardian and The Sunday Times. 11 a.m. in Lipinsky Auditorium.

Sept. 22 – A Cultural Genocide: ISIS and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East – UNC Asheville Professor of History Samer Traboulsi offers a lecture examining the destructive acts against cultural heritage sites in the Middle East committed by ISIS since 2014, in the light of radical ideologies rooted in the puritan Salafi interpretation of Islam. 7 p.m. in Humanities Lecture Hall.

Sept. 24 – Unveiled: A One-Woman Show – Rohina Malik will bring to life five different Muslim women with five different stories revolving around different cups of tea. Malik is a playwright, actress and performance artist of South Asian descent who was born in London and moved to Chicago as a teen. 9 p.m. in Highsmith Union, in the Grotto.

The exhibition and lectures are sponsored by UNC Asheville’s National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor Dan Pierce and by the Department of History. Unveiled: A One-Woman Show is sponsored by the UNC Asheville student organization, Underdog Productions. For more information, contact Jessica Park at or 828-251-6808.

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