Event Menu for Islamic Cultural Celebration

During the month of March the School of Art at Montana State University is pleased The Islamic Cultural Celebration: a series of events and art shows celebrating countries of Islamic faith. To encourage multiculturalism and promote diversity in Montana and on MSU campus, there will be an exhibition in the Helen E. Copeland Gallery; satellite exhibitions in the Renne Library and Dean’s Gallery; round table discussions; three lectures; and a public reception throughout the month of March.

 March 2nd – April 4th: Geometric Aljamia: A Cultural Transliteration will be on display at the Helen E. Copeland Gallery.  A public reception will be held on March 30th from 6:30 – 8:30, after a lecture by Dr. Nada Shabout.  Refreshments and potluck food from Arabic and Persian nations will be provided

Geometric Aljamia: A Cultural Transliteration, birthed out of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is a cross-cultural collaboration that addresses how connections between the Middle East and the West during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization continue to be relevant and vibrant in the twenty-first century. The project includes artists, designers, performers, and writers from Afghanistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Canada, and the United States.   Aljamía is a medieval Spanish word that refers to Romance languages written in Arabic script. The resulting transliteration contributed to the dissemination of the Arabic language and Islamic influences throughout the Iberian Peninsula and beyond. By understanding the arts as a transliteration of one form of thinking to another and addressing the fundamental patterns and geometry embedded in visual art and poetry, this project revisits the ongoing impact of Islamic art, science, and philosophy throughout the world today.

 March 2nd:  Dr. Barry Ferst from Carroll College will speak on March 2nd, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, in Cheever 215 followed by round-table discussion in the HECG with Amanda Cater from Welcoming Bozeman. Refreshments will be provided.

MSU School of Art will host the Montana Conversations program “Islam: the Golden Age” with Dr. Barry Ferst on March 2nd. The presentation is free and open to the public. Funding for the Montana Conversations program is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s Cultural Trust, and private donations.

 Welcoming Bozeman is a part of the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association working to promote understanding and respect across cultural and faith differences.  We hold small group discussions, show films and in the future hope to have public lectures on the topic of cultural diversity.

Ferst will discuss the Golden Age of Islam, an under-appreciated era in human civilization, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during which much of the historically Islamic world was ruled by various caliphates and science, economic development and cultural works flourished. During this time, major advancements were made in surgery, mathematics, the scientific method, astronomy, optics, art, and numerous other areas. The advancements during the Islamic Golden Age are the basis of much of our modern day technologies and endeavors.

We are enthusiastic to host him at MSU. Though brought to Bozeman by the MSU School of Art, Ferst’s lecture is vital to a global understanding of Islam and its contribution to American culture and sciences and is worthwhile to artists, scientists, and historians alike.


March 30th:  Dr. Nada Shabout, will speak on March 30th in Cheever 215  from 5:15- 6:30 on “Contemporary Art from the Arab World: A Global Perspective.” The lecture will be followed by reception in the HECG with potluck food, refreshments and (hopefully) music till 8:30pm.

Dr. Nada Shabout has been an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas since 2002, teaching Arab visual culture and Islamic art. She has been working on the documentation of modern Iraqi heritage, particularly the collection previously held at the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art since her visit to Baghdad in June 2003. She has been organizing panels and presenting around the world on the state of Iraq’s modern heritage following 2003, the relationship of identity and visual representations in modern and contemporary Iraqi art, and exhibitions of Middle Eastern arts in the West since 911.

Shabout is a co-founder and president of the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA.) AMCA mission statement claims, aims to advance the study of contemporary Middle Eastern art studies

She is the curator of the traveling exhibition “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art,” 2005-07; and “Moments from 20th Century Iraqi Art,” at the Montalvo Art Center, California, 2007-2008. She has edited the exhibition catalogue “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art.”

 March 31st: Dr. Nada Shabout will be speaking on Friday, March 31st, 1-2 pm in Cheever 215 on documenting lost Arab art from the Iraqi and Afghani Wars.   This lecture is held in conjunction with the History, Philosophy, Religious and Gender Studies Department at MSU. Her lecture, will be “Archiving Cultural Identity and National Memory: Destruction, Loss and Rescue of Modern Iraqi Art.”

 Abstract: Since the invasion of 2003, Iraq has been experiencing continuous acts of destruction that has been dubbed by many historians as deeds of cultural and national cleansing. The destruction has been so comprehensive registering the loss that ensued as catastrophic and debilitating. Of particular concern is the loss of modern art in Iraq which seems to be of little interest to the rest of the world. This talk explores modern cultural destruction in Iraq and efforts undertaken to document and preserve collective memory.

 Throughout March: Satellite exhibits will be held in the fromnt showcase at Renne Library.  On display will be artifacts from Persian countries. 

Also throughout March, there will be a satellite exhibition in the Dean’s Gallery on the second floor of Cheever Hall.  The work of Moroccan artist Abbès Saladi will be on display till April.

These works are on loan from local printmaker, Richard Nelson who was a friend of Saladi’s.  They met at a print workshop in Asilah, Morocco in the summer of 1984 and continued to trade works with one another on the years that followed.

Born in 1950 in Marrakech where he died in October 1992, Abbès Saladi ‘s father left his family when he was four. Unable to raise Saladi, his mother sent him to live with his uncle, who is a café owner medina of Casablanca. From that age, Abbès proved to be a “wise child.” He was shy and started to exhibit mania in the form of obsessive drawing and scribbling constantly.   At the age of twenty, after graduating from high school, he left Casablanca to study philosophy in Rabat. During his second year of study, he was diagnosed with dementia which would affect him for the rest of his life.  He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital under the care of Dr. Tayeb Chkili who, interested in Saladi’s drawings, entrusted him with drawing materials. Saladi began to draw and he would not stop until his death.

According to Dounia Benquassem, Director of AfricArts, in Dictionary of Contemporary Artists in Morocco: The course of Saladi is singular. This painter is fascinated by the strangeness of his imagination. His works unveil a specific style based on metamorphosis and hybridization. Its pictorial universe offers a mosaic of motifs drawn from the Arab-Muslim imagination, of hybrid bodies, of zelliges, of minarets. The precision of the line, the profusion of details, combined with the subtlety of the tones and the transparency of the washings, overturn the foundations of the real, distort beings more than things and open a phantasmagoric world where the chimeric bird reigns. Saladi cultivates symmetry and, as a distinguished storyteller, familiarizes us with unreal characters from the symbiosis of the plant, the animal and the human.



The Helen E. Copeland Gallery is located on the second floor of Haynes Hall.  Please note that the parking passes are required for parking during the business day (6AM – 6PM).

 Helen E. Copeland Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM / Closed on weekends

 For more information on this exhibition, or on the Helen E. Copeland Gallery in general, please visit http://hecgallery.com or follow us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/msuhecg).