Lecture Night

Amira Abou Taleb: Theorizing Islamic Art: An examination of theological underpinnings

Feb 19, 2024


Yarmouk Cultural Centre


Amira Abou Taleb
Intrigued by the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, Dr Amira Abou Taleb designed a popular course titled “Beauty & Reason in the Arab/Islamic Civilization” which she taught at the American University in Cairo. She later taught this course at the University of Helsinki in Finland. In her research, she examines the Qur’anic concept of iḥsān (beauty/goodness). Her work intersects with today’s lived realities as she applies her findings to a wide array of fields including societal ethics, museology, and interfaith dialogue.

Theorizing Islamic Art: An examination of theological underpinnings
The highly specialized nature of today’s academic scholarship often comes at the cost of a holistic examination. This issue becomes particularly pertinent when dealing with art that is a product of a civilization as rich and diverse as that of the Islamic world. The vast array of traditional Islamic art holds undeniable spatial and temporal specificities, yet conveys an overarching philosophical unison that is often overlooked. This lecture proposes a new epistemological theory that helps explain Islamic Art from a theological perspective. This lecture explores a deeper connection that grounds traditional Islamic art in the theological principles of the Qur’an. In this lecture, I will examine the interplay between ethics and aesthetics as foundational pillars of the Qur’anic worldview.


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