British Museum to examine East-West relationship in art with new exhibition

16th Jul 19 | Entertainment News

Inspired By The East: How The Islamic World Influenced Western Art, will open in October.

Portrait medal of Muhammad Shah Qajar, c.1835

The British Museum will look at five centuries of “artistic interaction” between East and West in a new exhibition.

Inspired By The East: How The Islamic World Influenced Western Art, will open in October.

It will examine the “highly charged and contested” art movement Orientalism, covering the depiction and misrepresentation of the East in Western culture.

Orientalism reached its height as an art movement in the 19th century but the exhibition will trace its origins to the 1500s.

A Portrait of Sultan Bayezid I, c1580
A Portrait of Sultan Bayezid I, c1580 (Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia)

Paintings, ceramics, photography, jewellery, manuscripts and clothing, as well as contemporary art, will be on display.

British Museum director Hartwig Fischer said: “This major exhibition will highlight just how extensive and enduring the cultural exchange between the West and the Islamic world has been.

“It is an artistic relationship which has endured for five centuries and has influenced an astonishing diversity of material culture.”

Olivia Threlkeld, co-curator of the exhibition, said: “Orientalism was one of the defining elements of the 19th and 20th centuries, comparable to other ‘isms’ like Surrealism and Impressionism, but it is largely forgotten today outside of academic circles.

“This will be a rare opportunity in the UK to see these important artworks from south-east Asia’s largest museum dedicated to Islamic art, and to think about Orientalism’s impact on art history and its legacy today.”

A major loan of objects will be on display from the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM).

After its run at the British Museum, the exhibition will open at the institution in Kuala Lumpur.

Inspired By The East: How The Islamic World Influenced Western Art, supported by Jack Ryan and sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, will open on October 10 at the British Museum.

© Press Association 2019

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