Rabat – The Freer Sackler Museum in Washington D.C. is opening the first exhibition centered on the Quran in the United States in an effort to improve the image of Islam in the country.
The series of events organized by Freer Sackler, a museum of Asian art, begins October 22 and runs through February 22, 2017 at Arthur M. Sackler Gallery venue, and will exhibit Qurans and Quranic manuscripts written between the 7th and 17th centuries.
The manuscripts, whose dazzling designs reminisce about the Islamic civilization’s artistic merit, were owned by rich and powerful Muslim leaders and were entrusted to Freer Sackler Museum, for the most part, by the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum in Istanbul.
The exhibition, dubbed the Art of the Qur’an, will host numerous activities, including Quranic recitations, presentations and talks by the exhibition curators, discovery tours around the Islamic Calligraphy Art, artistic performances, and so forth.
“We are first an art museum, so the angle of approach is more of a presentation on how the Koran has taken the form of a book and how the arts of calligraphy and illumination have developed around the book,” said the Assistant Curator of the exhibition, Simon Rettig, in an interview with France Press Agency (AFP).
Massumeh Farhad, the exhibition Curator, said in a press conference on October 20 that the museum has strived to put side by side various types of manuscripts from different parts of the Muslim world.
Farhad explained that the duplication of the same Quranic copy has put hindrances in front the creative process that has marked the Islamic Calligraphy:
“Today when you look Qur’ans, they all look the same, a printed copy of standard size. What is remarkable here are the size, scale, and writing. Especially when you consider that the Qur’an is the same text copied again and again and again.”
The opening of the exhibition will coincide with election season in the US, which the organizers regard as an opportune period to wash away the negative associations linked to Islam throughout the election campaign.
“Now it is true that the exhibition opened at the time of the election, with a strong polarization of public discourse around Islam […] our mission is to promote and disseminate knowledge, it opens at a time appropriate to allow the American public to have a different image of Islam,” explained Simon Rettig.