A Malaysian foundation hopes Islamic art collection in UK will present peaceful
2015-03-27 07:45:34 | Al Muslim News
Art collection from the Islamic world will be shown in the heart of the British Museum, instead of on the sidelines, in two new galleries funded by a Malaysian foundation which hopes to offset the image created by some Muslim militants groups.
The museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts, it plans to open two new galleries in its south wing dedicated to its extensive art collection from the Islamic world, Free Malaysia Today reported.
The two new galleries, which will complement the existing gallery, are being funded by the Albukhary Foundation of Malaysia.
The foundation’s chairman Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, said there was an urgent need to make people more aware of the value of art and artifacts from the Islamic world, and the threats to this cultural heritage, especially at a time when historic sites in Iraq are under attack by militants.
“What is happening in the world, demolishing all the Islamic heritage, non-Islamic antiquities, is a bad image,” he said.
“The British Museum … has been building this collection, without them we would not have any history,” he added.
The decision followed what the museum said was the extraordinary success of its 2012 exhibition “Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam” which director Neil MacGregor said had attracted almost 150,000 visitors.
“There was clearly a huge hunger in the public in Britain to know more about the cultures of the Islamic world,” MacGregor told a news conference. “That started us thinking very hard about the importance about thinking about the Islamic world in this way.”
Venetia Porter, the lead curator on the project, said that for the first time the museum would be showing the links between its Islamic collection and its core collection from Europe.
“The really important thing is to actually put this Islamic collection right in the heart of the museum,” she said.
The museum also said it would bolster its support for curators from Iraq to develop techniques of what it called “Emergency Heritage Management” to protect artifacts from being looted or damaged, and to restore those that have been vandalized..