DAI International Exhibitions

Exhibitions – special and traveling – have always been part of the DAI’s activities.  From Science in Islam, which opened less than two years after the opening of the Kuwait National Museum, to several new exhibitions being developed for tours in Europe, North America, and Asia, exhibitions have allowed the DAI to share the art of the Islamic world and the culture which that art with communities outside Kuwait.

The al-Sabah Collection was shifted from a private amalgamation of beautiful piece to a public collection for the expressed purpose of reaching a wider audience.  Sheikha Hussa, in a recent speech, explained how she and Sheikh Nasser decided to create the DAI:

We realised that art objects were not ordinary possessions, just to acquire, admire and use as a topic of after dinner conversation: they had a  greater function  to play in life. These works of art are not possessions; they are possessors of something valuable and enduring.  They are the tangible aesthetic manifestations of a culture and a repository of the artistic history of a civilization, they should be shared to give pleasure to a wider public.”

For more than two decades, this purpose has been ably met by the exhibitions travelling around the world and those, included here, that are retired.

Exhibition Poster.TOW.Amricani 2011Treasury of the World: Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals

25 February 2011 – 31 January 2013
Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Amricani Cultural Centre. Kuwait
After 10 years of touring, the Treasury of the World exhibition is finally in Kuwait.  The exhibition featured more than 500 jewelled objects from the Mughal Empire.

Exhibition Poster.Temple and Kings.Kuwait.2004 copyTemples and Kings: The Ancient East Before The Advent of Islam

16 May 2004 – 16 June 2005
College of Social Studies, Kuwait University. Kuwait
This exhibition of pre-Islamic metalwork was created for the visit of an important Iranian delegation led by Dr. Attallah Muhajirani. The 55 metal objects displayed represented the different cultures that inhabited the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates which witnessed a flowering of artistic expression, centred mainly on devotion to gods and the power of kings. This exhibition hints at the impact Mesopotamia had on surrounding cultures from the 4th millennium BC to the emergence of Islam in the mid-7th century.

Past-2Flowers from the Ashes
14 April – 31 May 1993
Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait National Museum. Kuwait
In honour of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush’s visit to Kuwait in 1993, two years after the liberation of Kuwait, DAI launched an exhibition featuring highlights of The al-Sabah Collection. The 116 objects selected for Flowers from the Ashes, including calligraphy, ceramics, glass, hardstone, ivory, jewellery, metal, manuscripts, rugs, stones, textiles and wood, and were displayed in the smouldered remains of the Kuwait National Museum.

Variety in UnityEnglish-page-Variety-Unity January 1987, on the occasion of the Fifth Islamic Summit. Bayan Palace. Kuwait
Held on the occasion of the Fifth Islamic Summit in Kuwait and by the invitation of the late Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, this exhibition featured a diverse selection of 209 objects in Bayan Palace for the summit. The chosen objects included calligraphy, ceramics, glass, hardstone, jewellery, leather, manuscripts, metal, numismatics and stone.

Exhibition Poster.TOW.Madrid.2004Treasury of the World: Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals

16 May 2001 – 30 May 2010
Considered one of the most comprehensive and richest collections of jewelled arts from the Mughal Empire in the world, Treasury of the World was inaugurated at the British Museum in London on 16 May 2001.

Exhibition Poster.IAP.Cambridge.UK.1995Islamic Art and Patronage
31 October 2008 – 28 February 2009
6 August 1990 – 22 June 2003
A comprehensive exhibition that featured objects of different mediums from the Islamic World. This exhibition travelled to the most prestigious museums in the world for 14 years.

ZarabiZarabi Carpets: Reflection of an Ideal World
17 April – 17 July 1999 Islamic Arts Museum. Malaysia

This exhibition was created for the opening of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, founded by the Al Bukhary Foundation. The title of the exhibition, Zarabi, is the beautiful word used for “carpet” in the Holy Qur’an. The special nature of the word mirrors the special nature of the carpets included in this exhibition.

Exhibition Poster.Science in Islam.Kuwait.1984Science in Islam
27 November 1984, on the occasion of the Fifth Summit Conference of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait National Museum.
The exhibition paid homage to the great Arab Islamic civilization through its 27 objects of metal, manuscripts and wood. It was divided into sections, each of which dealt with a special field of science: astronomy, mechanics, geography, medicine, botany and zoology. Both instruments and manuscripts were used to represent each of these disciplines.

Kuwait-History-Culture-Catalogue-cover-English-sideKuwait History and Culture
14 December 1987 – 6 January 1988, for Bahrain National Day
Bab al-Bahrain Exhibition Hall. Bahrain
On the National Day of Bahrain in 1988, DAI inaugurated an exhibition titled Kuwait History and Culture. The first exhibition to be held outside Kuwait, featured 101 objects including ceramics, glass, leather, manuscripts and numismatics.

Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts

05 June – 11 September 2011
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA

23 October 2011 – 15 January 2012
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston, TX

India’s Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow
12 December 2010 – 27 February 2011
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA

6 April – 11 July 2011
Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet
Paris, France

Beyond Boundaries: Islamic Art across Cultures
22 November 2008 – 22 February 2009
Qatar Museum of Islamic Art
Doha, Qatar

Frederick II of Hohenstaufen
10 February – 15 June 2008
Landesmuseum fur Natur und Mensch (State Museum for Nature and Mankind)
Oldenburg, Germany

Le Chant du Monde – L’art de L’Iran Safavide, 1501 – 1736
1 October 2007 – 7 January 2008
Louvre Museum
Paris, France

Saladin Und Die Kreuzfahrer (Saladin and the Crusaders)
5 March– 2 July 2006
Landes Museum Natur Und Mensch
Oldenburg, Germany

30 March – 4 November 2007
Schallaburg Castle
Vienna, Austria

Bellini and the East
1 December 2005 – 12 April 2006
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, MA, USA

12 April – 26 June 2006
The National Gallery
London, UK

9 July – 23 November 2005
Natural History Museum
London, UK

Legacy of Genghis Khan
28 October 2002 – 16 February 2003
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY, USA

13 April – 27 July 2003
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, California, USA

13 October 2001 – 14 April 2002
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY, USA

28 June 2002 – 5 January 2003
The Field Museum
Chicago, IL, USA

12 December 2006 – 24 January 2007
Abu Dhabi International Pearl Festival
Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Adventures of Hamza
28 June – 21 October 2003
Rietberg Museum
Zurich, Switzerland

1 November 2002 – 26 January 2003
Brooklyn Museum of Art
New York, USA

15 March 2003 – 8 June 2003
Royal Academy of Arts
London, UK

21 June 2002 – 30 September 2002
Arthur M Sackler Gallery
Washington, USA

Glass of the Sultans
20 February 2002 – 15 May 2002
The Benaki Museum
Athens, Greece

1 October 2001 – 13 January 2002
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, USA

Les Andalousies De Damas A Cardoue
L’Institut du Monde Arabe
Paris, France

3 May 2001 – 30 September 2001
Archaeological Site of Madinat al-Zahra
Cordoba, Spain

24 May 2001 – 3 September 2001
The Corning Museum of Glass
Corning, USA

Africa: The Art of a Continent
5 October 1995 – 28 January 1996
Royal Academy of Arts
London, UK

28 February 1996 – 30 April 1996
Martin Gropius Bau
Berlin, Germany

Romance of the Taj Mahal
10 January 1991 – 17 March 1991
Asia Society
New York, USA

23 August 1990 – 25 November 1990
Virginia Museum of Fine Art
Richmond, USA

29 April 1990 – 24 June 1990
Toledo Museum of Art
Toledo, USA

17 December 1989 – 11 April 1990
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, USA

Timur and the Princely Vision
13 August 1989 – 5 November 1989
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, USA

16 April 1989 – 6 July 1989
Arthur M Sackler Gallery
Washington, USA

Les Premières Publications Européennes sur la Civilisation Islamique & Arabe
Institut du Monde Arabe
Paris, France

The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent
4 October 1987 – 17 January 1988
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, USA

14 June 1987 – 7 September 1987
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, USA

15 January 1987 – 17 May 1987
National Gallery of Art
Washington, USA

India, Art and Culture 1300 – 1900
14 September 1985 – 5 January 1986
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, USA

Treasures of Islam
25 June 1985 – 27 October 1985
Musée Rath
Geneva, Switzerland

Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks
1 November 1981 – 1 January 1982
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, USA