The History of Islamic Art in 99 Objects

The Farjam Foundation and Zayed University
Tell The Story of Islamic Art
The Holy Month of Ramadan inspires a unique exhibition of 99 art objects that depict the story of Islamic Art

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1 August 2010: 
Curated in collaboration with Zayed University, The Story of Islamic Art in 99 Objects showcases art from Mr. Farhad Farjam’s extensive private collection.  This spectacular and varied group of artworks, to be exhibited at The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC, displays exquisite technical and aesthetic refinement born of the exceptional craftsmanship that is characteristic of Islamic art at large.

To honour the evening iftar and family time, the exhibition will be launched at a special time of 10pm on Sunday 15 August and members of the public are welcome to attend.

This exhibition marks the culmination of a full term of educational partnership between The Farjam Foundation and Zayed University. The Farjam Foundation has been holding classes and workshops teaching museum studies to these students, with a special focus on works from Mr. Farjam’s private collection.

“This collaboration with The Farjam Foundation has offered students of Zayed University the rare opportunity to work directly with precious artefacts from the past. It is indeed a pleasure to observe the special interest that the students have taken in UAE culture and history,” said Dr Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed University.

“It is a privilege to host this exciting exhibition which is the result of a semester of long efforts between Zayed University and The Farjam Foundation. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed University and Dr. Ron Hawker for their kind and generous support.  I would also like to congratulate Zayed University’s art students and the members of the Farjam Foundation for this achievement. I trust this will be the first of many educational joint efforts between our two institutions. ” said Mr. Farhad Farjam.

The students, under the supervision of Zayed University’s Islamic art expert and Associate Professor Dr. Ron Hawker, draw from their academic and personal experience to tell the story of Islamic art from its inception to the dawn of industrialization.

“The students have been on a journey of discovery that comes to life through this exhibition.  We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with Mr Farjam’s vast collection.  Its depth and variety make it a world-class resource for education in the arts.” said Dr. Hawker.

"Being part of this exhibition has made me appreciate Islamic art much more. Seeing and learning about each individual object has magnified the smallest details and the thoughts that have been put into each object by the creator. It has been an amazing experience to be part of this exhibition. I am so proud and excited to finally have the exhibition open for public, and I can’t wait to hear their feedback and reviews," said Alia Al-Siri, a student at Zayed University.

The 99 objects cover a remarkably broad geographical scope and stretch across time from the 1st century AH to the 14th century AH.  The selection showcases the breadth of media encompassed by the story of Islamic art, including manuscripts, Qur’ans, calligraphy, textiles, ceramics, miniatures, metalworks, jewellery, and arms. Zayed University’s students chose to focus on the cycle of art and patronage that is central to Islamic art production over the centuries in order to tell their story.

“These remarkable works capture the rich history of Islamic art in visual and spiritual codes”, said Emilie Faure, Collection and Exhibitions Manager at The Farjam Foundation. “From illuminated manuscripts, elaborate textiles, to splendid ceramics and glass wares, these 99 objects speak of the lives and aspirations of their patrons, artisans, artists, and owners through time.”

In honor of the holy month of Ramadan, this exhibition celebrates the devotion of the artists who transformed these objects into vessels of faith that carry God’s message to those who used them. Infused with the principles and spirit of Islam, the 99 objects on view to the public invite both aesthetic and spiritual contemplation.

Art collector and patron Mr. Farhad Farjam was recognised in March this year with the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award from Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. The Story of Islamic Art is the fifth exhibition to be inaugurated in the non profit space dedicated to his collection.  The exhibition follows on from Highlights of Islamic Art and The Holy Qur’an which showcased other works drawn from the rich variety of Islamic art that forms part of his private collection.

The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC offers a range of educational programmes, free and open to the public, from its popular First Wednesdays series and School and University Programmes to Art Nights @ Gate Village in collaboration with the DIFC.

Images of three of the artworks from the exhibition are included with this press release and the captions are as below:

Circa 983 AH / 1575 AD
Turkey, Ottoman Empire

1069 AH / 1658-1659 AD

1223-1255 AH / 1808-1838 AD
Ottoman Empire

Notes to editors
The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC
The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC showcases a rotating series of exhibitions drawn from The Farjam Foundation. The foremost ambition of The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC is art education.  A programme of educational events, free and open to the public, offers audiences the opportunity to learn more about the works on view and the context in which these were produced.

The Farjam Foundation is open: Sunday to Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm; Saturday 12 pm to 8 pm. Please visit for updates on events at The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC.

The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC is generously supported by the Hafiz Foundation.

The Hafiz Foundation
The Hafiz Foundation was founded in 2008 to support outstanding initiatives within the visual arts, with a special emphasis on the greater Middle East. With the city of Dubai as its base, the Foundation aims to become a centre for production, preservation, and promotion of the arts at large. At the heart of the Foundation’s goals is the development of educational opportunities for young Middle Eastern artists, students, scholars, curators, and art enthusiasts.
As a partner to both local and international cultural initiatives, the Foundation’s recent activities include having supported the founding of the award-winning Middle Eastern arts magazine Bidoun,  support for local arts education programs, as well as the organization of a series of exhibitions displaying selected works from the Farjam Foundation.

Distinguished Patron of the Arts
Owner of The Farjam Foundation and founder of The Farjam Foundation @ DIFC Mr Farhad Farjam received the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award in March 2010 for his outstanding contribution to patronage in the region.