This exhibition opens the conference “From A Sudan to Another: Social and Political Restructurings Underway”, 10-12 June 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Download the programme! 

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LUCY COMES HOME

May 8, 2013

LUCY COMES HOME

For the first time ever in Ethiopia, the fossil of Lucy is exhibited at the National Museum *until Sunday 12 May* only.

I curated this exhibition organized for the return of Lucy from US. I’ll write something about this experience soon here. Stay tuned.

2013 wishes

January 11, 2013

2013 wishes

Best wishes for 2013.

In these times of presents, I feel like offering a short reflection on the late historian of islamic art Oleg Grabar (1929-2011) and his legacy.  Grabar started his career when Orientalism was beyond critics and participated in reevaluating and transforming the field of Islamic studies. He managed to define the undefinable of the mixed influences and melting pot of islamic art. His studies on ornament also influenced contemporary art in Middle East and beyond. Respect.

This paper was published in the Dictionnaire des Orientalistes de langue française, 2d revised and enlarged edition, december 2012.

Block Carved with a Fan Pattern, ca. 720–724. Limestone, carved. Department of Antiquities, Qasr al-Qastal Archaeological Site, Jordan

Block Carved with a Fan Pattern, ca. 720–724. Limestone, carved. Department of Antiquities, Qasr al-Qastal Archaeological Site, Jordan

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Dictionnaire des Orientalistes de langue française, édition revue et augmentée

The Dictionnaire des Orientalistes is living a third life: the 2nd revised and enlarged edition has been released last week! It’s a new version of the Dictionnary I already talked about (see here). New entries were added, mistakes were corrected. In all, the 2d edition is about 100 pages thicker than the previous one. In the meanwhile, the team (I should write network) worked hard and published that book: Après l’orientalisme, l’Orient créé par l’Orient.  These are perfect christmas presents, aren’t they?

I was honoured to write new entries and correct old ones. I was specially honoured to write an entry for Oleg Grabar which inspired a lot my approach and still remain a model.

The newest of the Louvre galleries has opened this week: Islamic Art is now displayed in a marvel of architecture. Does Display (re)invent Islamic Art? This article examines how Islamic Art as an academic field was invented at the turn of the 20th century as it was being exhibited  in Paris, Munich or London. It analyses the French connection in the invention of Islamic art and reflects on the political meaning of exhibiting Islamic Art in a post-9/11 context and the Orientalist tradition: unveiling the Louvre veil on Islamic art.

The first islamic Art display at the Louvre: Delort de Gléon room, Pavillon de l’horloge, 1921

That article was published (in French) in Qantara, the cultural magazine of the Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), #82, winter 2012. The issue was dedicated to the Invention of Islamic Art.

Musée du Louvre, Department of Islamic Art, Mario Bellini & Rudy Ricciott architects, 2012

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A Photograph Exhibition: Sudan(s) Frontiers & Frontlines

by Jérôme Tubiana
@French Center for Ethiopian Studies Library and Garden.
From 11 to 22 June. Entrance free.

After its independence in 1956, Sudan has seen the upraisal of various rebellions in its peripheries. This has soon led to a fragmentation of the Sudanese territory into areas controlled by the government and others controlled by the rebels, separated by frontlines or fluid « no man’s lands », which were often true « nomads’ lands » – pastoralists having kept crossing the boundaries without necessarily feeling they should belong to one side. With the independence of South Sudan in mid-2011, those frontlines or buffer zones have now become (disputed) borderlands. Researcher and photographer, Jérôme Tubiana has been travelling around those old and new frontiers since 2004, starting with the border between Darfur and Chad, and most recently the new borderlands between North and South Sudan.

I’ve currated this exhibition.
Opening on Monday 11 June 2012. Come!

Happy 2012!

January 2, 2012

Best wishes for 2012Happy New Year and Best wishes for 2012!

2011 has been such a year: I wish 2012 to be… Grand!

I start it anew. Lot of changes occurred in 2011 – on a personal level, I mean, as I have been affected by the unrest in the Middle East. After a lot of movements and a long and epic fieldwork for the Arab Image Foundation, in Novembre 2011, I finally took a Project Officer position at the CFEE – Centre français des études éthiopiennes, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). I’ll be in charge of their heritage programs. In particular, I will lead the restoration works of a part of the National Museum of Ethiopia permanent exhibition. New challenges ahead!

Inventing Islamic Art suite: I’ll post some articles and excerpts published in 2011 and soon to be published here and there.
First, anticipating on the Louvre Department of Islamic Art opening, we’ll continue with a series of publications on the invention of Islamic Art. Stay tuned on this page!

Is Islamic Art a Western invention? I open with this article a series of articles I’ve published this year on the invention of Islamic Art. It comes in line with the reopening of departments of Islamic Art a the Metropolitan  in November 2011 and at the Louvre expected in 2012. It leads to a reflection on the Orientalist tradition and the political meaning of exhibiting Islamic Art.

Poster & Matiss

Poster of "Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst" exhibition, Munich, 1910, photo:DR. // Matisse and friends at the Oktoberfest, Munich 1910, DR.

Are contemporary exhibitions/museums of Islamic Art embedded in a century old Orientalist tradition?
Here’s a book review – published on Studia Islamica, 2011, 2 – of Avinoam Shalem & Andrea Lermer’s After One Hundred Years that celebrated the 100 years of the exhibition ‘Meisterwerk muhammedanischer Kunst’held in Munich in 1910. The aim of the organisers the Munich 1910 exhibition was to break up with Orientalism by linking Oriental Art to Modernism. The exhibition entered history that way with Matisse among other avant-garde artists visiting it. This book examines the heritage of this amazing exhibition considered as a major landmark in Islamic Art studies. This book review offers a chance to reflect on the history of exhibitions as a research topic. It also raises questions on the contemporary exhibitions of Islamic Art in the public space and their political discontent. Is exhibiting Islamic Art political? As more museums are being opened, the orientalist tradition raises under the cover of a so-called  Islamophilia supposed the counter post 9/11 islamophobia.

After one hundred years: the 1910 exhibition ‘Meisterwerk muhammedanischer Kunst’ reconsidered’, Andrea Lermer and Avinoam Shalem, Leyde, Brill, 2010, 401 p. Read the rest of this entry »

Statue de Bourdelle au Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Alger, DR.

For the 15 years now, demands of return, repatriation and restitution of artefacts stolen during the colonial period have been an endless diplomatic issue between former colonised and colonisers in Africa. How objects of cultural heritage became subjects of conflict?

Not all Africans countries claim for their ‘looted’ heritage, North African countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) barely asked for cultural artefacts to be repatriated. This article explains that difference through the analysis of 50 years of cultural policies in a post-colonial context. It raises questions that help reformulating the dead-end of the question of restitutions. How that difference enlights the relationship between the part (the object in exile) and the all (the heritage in situ)?
This complete article (in French) is now  on line on revues.org:

Jean-Gabriel Leturcq, « La question des restitutions d’œuvres d’art : différentiels maghrébins », L’Année du Maghreb [En ligne], IV | 2008, http://anneemaghreb.revues.org/431

Enjoy your reading*.

*I’m aware it is a very academic article. Research aims at fuelling cultural policies with new matters, doesn’t it!?