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Not Malacca but Marege: Islamic Art in Australia (or, ‘What Have the Umayyads Ever Done for Us?’)

  • Sam Bowker
Chapter
Part of the Heritage Studies in the Muslim World book series (HSMW)

Abstract

There is a vibrant and distinctive Islamic art heritage in Australia, which deserves to be examined on its own terms. The curation of art and material culture exhibitions in multicultural Australia, where diverse interest groups contest historical narratives, presents exciting opportunities for public engagement. Both Islamic and Indigenous art share the impact of European Orientalism, social marginalisation and recent politicisation, and thus seek an earnest focus for cultural critique and contemporary reconciliation.

This chapter looks at the differing ways that two major institutions explore revised representations of, and relations between, South-East Asian, Islamic and Indigenous Australian visual cultures to create a distinctive Australian vision of Islamic art. This is a vision that rejects the centrality of the expanded Middle East and showcases the formation of vibrant pluralist identities. The institutions are the Art Gallery of South Australia— which has collected Islamic art since 1916, forming the only permanent display in a public institution in Australia—and Charles Sturt University, which teaches a unique Islamic art subject developed through the experiences of regional Australian students.

Keywords

Australia Islamic art Islam Australian art Curatorship Exhibition 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Bowker
    • 1
  1. 1.Charles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia

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