The Shahnameh and the Persian miniature tradition BOOKED OUT
David Roxburgh and Khadim Ali in conversation with Michael Brand
The 10th-century Persian epic poem Shahnameh (Book of kings) tells a mythical history of Persia and has been illustrated with exquisite miniatures in countless manuscripts across the centuries.
Harvard scholar of Islamic art David Roxburgh and internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Khadim Ali discuss the rich illustrative tradition of the Shahnameh in conversation with Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand.
Exploring examples of Shahnameh miniatures as well as its iconography in Ali’s work, this special event will raise questions about cultural history, heritage and contemporary practice in Islamic art.
Khadim Ali was born in Quetta, Pakistan of Hazara ethnicity (a minority group from Afghanistan). He moved to Australia on a distinguished talent visa and is now based in Western Sydney. Ali was trained in the tradition of Persian and Indian miniature painting and graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. His works are in the collections of leading galleries and museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Australian War Memorial Museum, Canberra and the Art Gallery of NSW. He is also a trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW.
David J Roxburgh is Department Chair and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History at Harvard University in the US. His books include Prefacing the image: the writing of art history in sixteenth-century Iran and The Persian album, 1400-1600: from dispersal to collection. He has also worked as a curator on the exhibitions Turks: a journey of a thousand years at the Royal Academy of Art, London, in 2005 and Traces of the calligrapher: Islamic calligraphy in practice c1600-1900 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2007.
This special event is part of the Sydney Asian Art Series, which presents leading international voices on early, modern and contemporary Asian art. This three-year series of talks and events is co-presented by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of NSW and Sydney Ideas.
Image: Khadim Ali Untitled 2013-14 (detail), from the series The haunted locusts, Art Gallery of New South Wales © Khadim Ali. Courtesy Milani Gallery