VCU presents seventh Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art

The biennial event, returning to the United States after 13 years, examines the contemporary art and culture of the Islamic world

Photo cutlines: Henna Bikers
<br>Photography by Hassan Hajjaj
<br>Ed. of 3
Photo cutlines: Henna Bikers
Photography by Hassan Hajjaj
Ed. of 3
Courtesy of the Artist
[Background Information: London-based Moroccan artist Hajjaj aimed to depict the strength and independence of this group of women who work 10-hour days painting henna on tourists in Marrakech, speak several languages, raise families, bike to work, and in one case, built her own home. The frame border is meant to evoke the mosaics of Morocco and the clothing reflects Morocco’s characteristic as a colorful nation with a strong sense of tradition.]

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts will present the seventh biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, Nov. 2–4, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Cheek Theater, 200 N. Boulevard.

Widely considered the preeminent conference on Islamic art and culture, the three-day international symposium features leading scholars and curators of Islamic art and architecture, and dynamic contemporary artists from around the world.

This year’s conference, “Islamic Art: Past, Present and Future,” features a range of topics, including the ways in which Islamic art engages with contemporary politics, global capitalism, gender, religion and history, and how Western museums have approached collecting and curating the arts of the Islamic lands.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani will deliver the opening address at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2. Acclaimed Moroccan-born contemporary artist Lalla Essaydi will follow with the keynote address, “Gender, Power and Tradition.” Check-in begins at 4:30 p.m.

“Islamic Art: Past, Present and Future” is sponsored by VCUarts, VCUarts Qatar, The Qatar Foundation and Hamad bin Khalifa University. Tickets are $10 per day, and the event is open to the public.

For more information, including the full list of speakers, visit Register at

About VCUarts Qatar

VCUarts Qatar is the branch campus of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Established in 1998, VCUarts Qatar offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design, graphic design, interior design and painting & printmaking, a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in design studies. The university is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. VCUarts Qatar has substantial involvement with the emerging design industries in Qatar and has established itself as a center of excellence for education and research in art and design.

About VCUarts

VCUarts is a comprehensive art school within a major, urban public research university. Currently ranked the No. 1 public school of art and design by U.S. News and World Report, it offers 15 undergraduate and 10 graduate degree programs in fine arts, design, performing arts, historical research and pedagogical practice. Its campus in Qatar provides students and faculty with a direct tie to the Middle East, a region of increasing significance in the contemporary art world. Distinguished faculty members are internationally recognized in their respective fields and contribute significantly to the stature of VCU and are committed to mentoring the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars and engaged citizens of diverse communities around the world.

About The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, non-profit organization that serves the people of Qatar by supporting and operating programs in three core mission areas: education, science and research, and community development. The Foundation strives to nurture the future leaders of Qatar. By example and by sharing its experience, the Foundation also contributes to human development nationally, regionally, and internationally. In all of its activities, the Foundation promotes a culture of excellence in Qatar and furthers its role in supporting an innovative and open society that aspires to develop sustainable human capacity, social, and economic prosperity for a knowledge-based economy. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, QF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.