18 November is International Day of Islamic Art. In 2019, UNESCO proclaimed this day to raise awareness to past and contemporary artistic expressions of Islam and the contribution of culture through Islamic Art to civilisation. It encourages worldwide appreciation for Islamic art in all its forms, such as glass, metalwork, pottery, jewellery and textiles.
These representations of Islamic art greatly influenced and formed part of the architectural style of the many lands of Islam with the tile and ceramic mosaics, intricate woodwork, stone and stucco carving and sumptuous hangings. The arts of Islam also feature calligraphy prominently throughout scrollwork, arabesques, geometric motifs and interlace patterns.
The worldwide celebration of the International Day of Islamic Art not only encourages the appreciation of Islamic art, which has inspired other artistic movements, but also contributes to cultural diversity, freedom of expression, protection of cultural heritage and inter-cultural dialogue. Marking the Day is also a way to foster tolerance between peoples and support cultural rapprochement, both of which are possible through the power of art.
Islamic art is not restricted to religious art — it includes the art of the rich and varied cultures of Islamic societies throughout history. It is a complex art to define because it spans over 1,400 years, covering many lands and populations, and is not restricted to a single medium. Instead, Islamic art covers a range of artistic fields, including architecture, calligraphy, painting, glass, ceramics and textiles.
UNESCO: “The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture” is part of UNESCO’s Histories flagship project. This work has been achieved with financial and logistical support from the World Islamic Call Society (WICS) of Libya. It is a collection of six thematic volumes that gathers the contributions of around 150 scholars. Read more here