Repositioning the Past in the Arts of Islamicate Societies III: Looking Ahead

9 December 2021, 3:00:00 am

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Session Convenors

Dr Peyvand Firouzeh, University of Sydney
Dr Wulan Dirgantoro, University of Melbourne

Session Moderators

Dr Peyvand Firouzeh, University of Sydney
Dr Wulan Dirgantoro, University of Melbourne

Session Speakers

Dr Michael Brand, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Nusra Latif Qureshi, artist
Professor Mary Roberts, University of Sydney
Nur Shkembi, University of Melbourne

Historicism, as an artistic practice with a regard for past forms and styles, has commonly been discussed in Islamic art and architecture in the post-1800 period, especially in relation to “archaeological historicism”, revival styles (i.e. Mamluk Revival, Neo-Achaemenid, etc.), and traditionalism. This panel aims to expand the question of conscious treatments of the past both temporally and conceptually, posing the following questions: how has the past – not merely historical forms and styles but also the idea of history itself – been treated in art and art writing? How do we think about historicism in relation to cross-culturalism? Who did the past belong to, and as a corollary, how does cross-cultural historicism relate to nationalism, transnationalism, and the vexed terms “impact” and “influence”? How do our interpretations of art and material culture that reference the past relate to the reception of the art after its production, or to its contemporaneity? Part of a series of sessions, this roundtable will bring together voices from practicing artists, curators, and art historians to respond to the questions posed by the panels I & II and reflect on the future of Islamic art in Australia and the broader region.

THIS SESSION IS A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

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Biographies

Dr Peyvand Firouzeh, University of Sydney

Peyvand Firouzeh (PhD, University of Cambridge) is Lecturer in Islamic Art in the Department of Art History at the University of Sydney. She specializes in medieval and early modern art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on sacred architecture, its intersections with poetry and politics, and artist networks in Persianate societies across the Indian Ocean. Peyvand has held research and curatorial positions with the Getty Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies, at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut), the Forum Transregionale Studien and Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin, and the British Museum in London.


Dr Wulan Dirgantoro, University of Melbourne

Dr Wulan Dirgantoro is a researcher of modern and contemporary Indonesian art. Her research focus looks at the intersection between feminism, trauma, memory and artmaking in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She is the author of “Feminisms and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences” (2017). She was part of “Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art”, a research program funded through the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative. Wulan has also taught at MA Asian Art Histories program at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore and until recently, a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne.


Dr Michael Brand, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Dr. Michael Brand serves as the ninth director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia. He is an international art scholar and cultural leader whose work spans art museums and academia as well as the government, philanthropic and community sectors. Prior to joining the Gallery in 2012, Dr. Brand was consulting director of the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto while it was under construction. Before this, he was director of the world-renowned J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from 2005 to 2010. 


Nusra Latif Qureshi, artist

As an artist Nusra’s practice has developed through an in-depth study of conventional South Asian painting techniques in conjunction with image manipulation softwares. Her work ranges from small, highly detailed paintings to large scale digital prints that engage with the visual histories of South Asian region and Australian culture, pulling apart and reconfiguring the found patterns to construct new narratives. Her extensive exhibition history includes shows in Australia, USA, Europe and Asia. Nusra’s work features in several private and institutional collections around the world, including the British Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, QAGOMA, and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. 


Professor Mary Roberts, University of Sydney

Mary Roberts, Professor of Art History, University of Sydney, specialises in nineteenth-century European and Ottoman art with particular interest in artistic exchanges, histories of collecting, and the ways Orientalist images are mediated. Her book, Istanbul Exchanges: Ottomans, Orientalists and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture (University of California Press, 2015), was awarded the AAANZ Book Prize and translated into Turkish in 2016. Her first book was Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature, (Duke, 2007) and she has co-edited four other books. Her next book is Four Thresholds: Orientalist Interiors, Islamic Art, the Aesthetics of Global Modernities. 


Nur Shkembi, University of Melbourne 

Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne (Naarm) based curator and writer currently undertaking a PhD in the Department of Art History at the University of Melbourne. As a curator, Nur has produced over 150 exhibitions, community engagement projects and was a founding member of the Islamic Museum of Australia, serving as the museum’s inaugural Art Director and foundation Curator. Nur is a Centre Fellow at CoVA, academic teacher and guest lecturer for the Masters of Art Curatorship course at the University of Melbourne, and lecturer for the Masters of Gallery and Museum Management at RMIT University.