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Islamic art expert to speak at UT Arlington

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - An art expert with the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London will speak on "Islamic Art: Patrons and Patronage" at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, in the Bluebonnet Ballroom at the E. H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St.

The event featuring Alnoor Merchant, the institute's acting head librarian, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture.

Merchant serves as keeper of the library's manuscript collection and has been instrumental in developing the collections of Ismaili materials at the institute's library during the past 15 years. Since 1997, he has played a pivotal role in identifying and acquiring important manuscripts and artifacts.

"The works in the collection have appeared in exhibitions in London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona," said Beth Wright, Dean of UT Arlington's College of Liberal Arts.

The Institute of Ismaili Studies was founded in 1977 to study Islam. The institute draws on the knowledge and experience of institutions and scholars worldwide to create awareness and promote scholarship and education about Muslim cultures and societies, historical and contemporary. This knowledge is used to provide a better understanding of Islam's relationship with other societies and faiths.

The institute's programs promote research in areas that have had relatively little attention in scholarship. These include the intellectual and literary expressions of Shi‘ism in general and Ismailism in particular. Attention is given to issues of modern life that arise as Muslims seek to relate their heritage to contemporary circumstances.

"The collection that Merchant oversees is significant, and it is a real privilege for us to have this opportunity," said Robert Hower, chairman of the UT Arlington Art and Art History Department. Hower noted that the institute is building a new museum in Toronto to house some of its collection.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.