By S, Hugh
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs , Vol. XIX, No. 1
THREE EXHIBITS AT SACKLER GALLERY ON MODERN MIDEAST
Three exhibits, one calligraphic and two photographic, dealing with the Middle East opened in November at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC. "Imaging the Word: Selections of Calligraphy from the Islamic World" displays 30 works from the 9th century to the present on various materials. Thanks to recent acquisitions and gifts, the Sackler is now able to exhibit the continuous tradition of the most important artistic medium in Islamic art. The works on display range from one of the smallest known examples of kufic script to a monumental Timurid Qur'an page, and include a carved emerald and an engraved stone cup. Contemporary works are also on display, one a set of talismanic steel plaques and a minimalist, Sufi-inspired painting entitled "Light Upon Light," composed entirely of the word "Allah."
A photographic exhibit examines the work of Antoin Sevruguin, a Russian-Iranian photographer. Sevruguin's work records life in Iran from the late 1870s to the early 1930s, a period of rapid modernization and change. The photographs cover all aspects of Iranian life: everyday life, ethnographic studies, the royal court, Iranian antiquities, along with Western fantasy. The Suckler holds over 900 of Sevruguin's works, the largest collection in the world. …