Five Features Of Islamic Contemporary Art
*An extraordinary number of the best artists are women. This may or may not related to the oppression of women in Muslim countries, but it is certainly noteworthy.
*Iranian artists seem to draw largely from their Persian cultural heritage, with art that emphasizes aesthetics. Painterly, graceful, and often calligraphic, these works are richly-colored and can be absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Top artists: Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, and my personal favorite, Mohammed Ehsai.
*Iraqi artists, by contrast, are (understandably) focused on the political, and on addressing the political and sociological conflicts of their culture. These works tend to be more secular in nature.
*A significant number of the women artists work with photography. Examples include Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan), Shirin Neshat (Iranian), Mitra Tabrizian (Iranian), and Raeda Saadeh (Palestinian).
*This summer, the Venice Biennale will feature, for the first time, an entire pavilion of works by artists from the UAE. Other countries represented from the region include Iran (which has been represented at the Biennale in the past) and Pakistan (which makes its debut this year). The inclusion of these artists reflects the growing interest in Islamic Contemporary art throughout the international artworld.