The extensive use of writing is a hallmark of Islamic civilization. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, became one of the main methods of artistic expression from the seventh century to the present in almost all regions from the far Maghrib, or Islamic West, to India and beyond. In this groundbreaking book, Sheila Blair explains this art form to modern readers and shows them how to identify, understand, and appreciate its varied styles and modes. The book is designed to offer a standardized terminology for describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy and to help readers appreciate why calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization. The argument is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 150 color illustrations, as well as over 100 black-and-white details that highlight the salient features of the individual scripts and hands. The illustrations are accompanied by detailed analyses telling the reader what to look for in determining both style and quality of script. This beautiful new book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in Islamic art.
Over 250 illus. incl. 150 in color
For sale only in the Middle East
Against the Wall
The Art of Resistance in Palestine
The Art of Resistance in PalestineWilliam Parry
This stunning book of photographs captures the graffiti and art that has transformed Israel’s wall into a living canvas of resistance and solidarity. Featuring the work of artists including Banksy, Ron English, Blu, and others, as well as Palestinian artists and activists, these photographs express outrage, compassion, and touching humor. They illustrate the wall’s toll on lives and livelihoods, showing the hardship it has brought to tens of thousands of people, preventing their access to work, education, and vital medical care. Mixed with the photographs are portraits and vignettes, offering an inspiring account of a people determined to uphold their dignity in the face of profound injustice....read more
120 color photographs
Messages of Love and Politics
Messages of Love and PoliticsMia Gröndahl
Graffiti began in Gaza in 1987, during the first Intifada, when there was no Palestinian television or radio in the Gaza Strip, and no newspapers: the messages that spread along the walls became an important means of communication. Over the years, all political groups have had their own graffiti artists. Scrawl is not tolerated—it has to look good. Hamas even offers evening classes in graffiti. Documenting the writings on the walls of Gaza over a period of seven years, celebrated Swedish photojournalist Mia Gröndahl lays before us the many roles that they perform, the colorful and surprising range of their artistic expression, and their reflection of the changing political situation. And apart from political slogans, the walls bear witness too to joy and sadness: the wedding celebrations, the many victims of the conflict, and the ever present hope of peace and freedom. For us on the outside, Mia Gröndahl’s photographs offer an exciting and unexpected view of life in Gaza....read more
15 March 2010
150 color illus.
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated Edition
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated EditionViola Shafik
Since it was first published in 1998, Viola Shafik’s Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity has become an indispensable work for scholars of film and the contemporary Middle East. Combining detailed narrative history—economic, ideological, and aesthetic—with thought-provoking analysis, Arab Cinema provides a comprehensive overview of cinema in the Arab world, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present. It analyzes the ambiguous relationship with commercial western cinema, and the effect of Egyptian market dominance in the region. Tracing the influence on the medium of local and regional art forms and modes of thought, both classical and popular, Shafik shows how indigenous and external factors combine in a dynamic process of “cultural repackaging.” Now updated to reflect cultural shifts in the last two decades, this revised edition contains a new afterword highlighting the latest developments in popular and in art-house filmmaking, with a special focus on Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and the Gulf States. While exploring problematic issues such as European co-production for Arab art films, including their relation to cultural identity and their reception in the region and abroad, this new edition introduces readers to some of the most compelling cinematic works of the last decades....read more
5 January 2017
50 b/w illus.
Gardens of Sand
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the Levant
Issam Nassar Patricia Almárcegui Clark Worswick
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the LevantIssam Nassar
Between 1859 and 1905, a number of photographers working in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, Istanbul, and northern Africa captured their landscapes, towns, and monuments, bequeathing an unprecedented visual documentation of the Middle East. Gardens of Sand brings together 100 original photographs, masterpieces mostly hitherto unpublished, taken between 1859 and 1905. The archive illustrates the themes of the expatriate photographers of the second half of the nineteenth century—study portraits, royal commissions, landscapes, inventories of significant monuments and buildings, orientalist scenes, steeped in classical European imagination—but also explores the confrontation between western imagination and the visual reality of the Middle East, a meeting that gave rise to a local photography, gradually moving further away from western stereotypes, and includes a critical analysis of orientalism and of photography as a means of conveying a reality of prejudices....read more