12/21/11

Salva Rasool: Art & Beyond

Salva Rasool is respected for her works in Contemporary Art and is well known for her original Modern Arabic Masterpieces. She graduated at the prestigious Sir J.J. School of Arts, in 1985 and has since developed her childhood passion with her erudition and contribution to the Arts.

Salva is essentially recognized the world over for her insatiable urge in calligraphically created Arabic which is resplendent to the rich heritage while keeping pace with the modern times. Today, her work makes regal appearances on the walls of homes as far as South Africa, Middle East, United Kingdom and the United States.

http://salvarasool.com/salva-rasool-bio.html

Indian Artist Salva Rasool's Show: Elahiya: Divine Words

Calligraphy is of great import to Islamic art. Islam has for long used it as a form of religious expression but the style is evolving with the times. Artist Salva Rasool has created abstract Arabic art, which borrows from the rich Indian heritage and blends easily with contemporary flavours. Her solo show at the IndiaHabitat Centre called “Elahiya: Divine Words”, began on the 16th of this month and is on display till December 20. “When we were young, my father was very keen for us to learn Arabic. So I learnt Arabic as a child from a teacher,” says the artist, who received her formal education in art from Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai and specialised in typography as a subject. Further, she did extensive research in the Arabic script by studying various traditional scripts. Presenting traditional works in a stylised contemporary manner is what distinctly identifies her work. “My style is fusion. I combine modern and traditional techniques to produce interesting forms of art,” states Salva.


http://www.thehindu.com/arts/art/article2720681.ece

12/20/11

New Documentary Film: Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World



This new ninety-minute documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. The film's executive producers are Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer and the director is Rob Gardner. The film is narrated by Academy Award winning performer Susan Sarandon. PBS broadcast in 2012 (date TBD). For more information please visit http://www.islamicartfilm.org

12/17/11

Treasures of the Aga Khan in St. Petersburg, Russia


Following eight different exhibitions in Europe that attracted over half a million visitors, a new selection of masterpieces from the Aga Khan Museum collections are on show at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, from 9 December 2011 to 26 February 2012.

The exhibition is the first created from the Aga Khan Museum collections to centre on architecture in the Islamic World. The exhibition, sponsored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), has been organised in close cooperation with the Hermitage.

An agreement was signed spelling out future collaboration between The Hermitage and the Aga Khan Museum in areas of mutual interest such as conservation, exchange of technical expertise and exhibitions.

The exhibition is divided into six sections: “Sacred Typographies”, which explores the sites and monuments of Islamic pilgrimage through paintings and drawings; “Religious and Funerary Architecture”, which examines mosques and commemorative shrines; “The Fortress and the City”, which encompasses forts and fortified towns; “The Palace”, which looks at the residences of royal families; “Gardens, Pavilions and Tents”, which discusses the arts of shelter; and “Architecture and the Written Word”, which focuses on architectural spaces contained in miniature painting.

The catalogue contains essays on these themes by Nasser Rabbat, David J. Roxburgh, Kishwar Rizvi, Renata Holod, Sussan Barbaie, James L. Wescoat, jr. and Margaret S. Graves.

http://www.akdn.org/Content/1102

12/14/11

Museum for Islam’s history in America

Washington D.C.’s Mall is the home of many of the city’s finest museums, housing works of the masters at the National Museum of Art, historic aircraft at the Air and Space Museum and America’s Native heritage at the American Indian Museum.

But one man saw that something was missing: Amir Muhammad couldn’t find a museum that showed Islam’s history in America.  So he started digging.  His results - including photos, artifacts, and displays - have become America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Southeast Washington, DC.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/arts-and-entertainment/art-culture/One-Mans-Passion-Births-Islamic-Museum-135512023.html

Museum of Topkapı Palace, Turkey






Topkapı Palace, which is one of the oldest palaces in the world ...

...served as the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire for some 400 years. Built on the tip of the Istanbul peninsula, the palace stands on an exclusive point overlooking the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. Unlike European palaces, Topkapı Palace comprises numerous structures and its various pavilions and apartments, each of which is an exquisite example of Ottoman civic architecture, give it the appearnace of a small city. The palace has been serving as a museum since 1924 and its exhibits are among the world's masterpieces.

http://www.discoverislamicart.org/pc_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tr;Mon01;24;en

12/13/11

The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem

Visitors to Jerusalem's L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art are privileged to view one of the foremost collections of Islamic art and Antique Watches & Clocks. The L.A. Mayer Museum was founded by the late Mrs. Vera Bryce Salomons, realizing her long-standing idea of giving expression to the impressive artistic achievements of Israel's Muslim neighbors. Mrs. Salomons dedicated the Museum to her friend and teacher, Prof. Leo Arie Mayer. Many scholars of international renown took part in the establishment of the Museum, attracted to both its research activities and to the challenge of bridging the gap between the two cultures. The Museum was opened to the public in 1974.


http://www.islamicart.co.il/en/

12/12/11

The best of Islamic Arts at the Hermitage (in Russia)


Following eight different exhibitions in Europe,a new selection of masterpieces from the Aga Khan Museum collections are on show at the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), until 26 February, 2012.

The exhibition Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts is the first created from the Aga Khan Museum collections to centre on architecture in the Islamic World.

http://www.artelista.com/en/articles/2011/12/8664/the-best-of-islamic-arts-at-the-hermitage.html

12/8/11

Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture


As the premier art museum in the Mountain West and most attended university art museum in North America, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art (MOA) in Provo, Utah, is the organizing institution for the upcoming exhibition Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture. The exhibition will be in the MOA’s main galleries from February 24, 2012 to September 29, 2012.

http://beautyandbelief.byu.edu/

12/7/11

Pakistan: Calligraphic exhibition to mark the beginning of the Islamic year


To herald the start of the Islamic year, Gallery Louvre is hosting a calligraphy exhibition featuring artists from all over the country. This was stated in a press release issued by the gallery here on Wednesday. The collection will display styles of the art form in diverse media. The curator and owner of the gallery, Alina Saeed, said, “We aim to promote all kinds of visual arts, calligraphy being an important aspect.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/303217/new-beginnings-calligraphic-exhibition-to-mark-the-beginning-of-the-islamic-year/

Calligraphy on Tile Panel - Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Arts


http://www.shangrilahawaii.org/Islamic-Art-at-Shangri-La/Search-The-Collection/?col=265

Shangri La is the Honolulu home of American philanthropist Doris Duke. Built in 1937, Shangri La houses an impressive collection of Islamic art and is considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes.

12/6/11

Gertrud Rennhard’s “Iran Collection”

Born in Zürich Gertrud Rennhard joined the Swiss Foreign Office in 1945 and in 1947 received her first overseas posting, to Sao Paulo. Following tenures in Rome and in Basel, Gertrud Rennhard was posted to Tehran in 1962 where she remained until her retirement in 1976.

During this 14 year period Gertrud Rennhard not only travelled extensively throughout Iran and neighbouring countries, but passionately collected objects of Islamic art: be it calligraphy, carpets, coins, jewellery, furniture, whatever…

http://blog.grassi-museum.com/2011/12/hidden-treasures-gertrud-rennhards-iran-collection/grassi-museum-leipzig-verborgene-schatze_-die-iran-sammlung-rennhard-08/

12/5/11

New Documentary: Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World

UPF is proud to present its latest documentary film, Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. This new ninety-minute film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. It explores themes such as the Word, Space, Ornament, Color and Water and presents the stories behind many great masterworks of Islamic Art and Architecture.

The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work.  It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. The film also examines the unique ways in which Islamic art turns calligraphy and the written word into masterpieces and develops water into an expressive, useful art form.

Muslim art coming to a Mormon college

Sure, the bowls, figurines, tapestries and manuscripts are stunning historical artifacts. But to Sabiha Al Khemir, they are even more. They are building a bridge of understanding between the Islamic and Western worlds.

And they are going on display at a Mormon school.

“If people are touched and their hearts are open, they will do the work [to understand],” said Al Khemir, a Tunisian-born art expert and project director for “Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges With the Arts of Islamic Culture,” an exhibit set to launch its U.S. tour at Brigham Young University in February.
Al Khemir, along with representatives of BYU’s Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Newark (N.J.) Museum and the Portland (Ore.) Art Museum, announced this week the start of the traveling exhibition in Provo.

Museum of Islamic Art in Istanbul, Turkey

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_and_Islamic_Arts_Museum

SundayArts Profile: New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

11/30/11

Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan

It may come as a surprise that in addition to its acclaimed collection of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, the Morgan is also home to important Islamic manuscripts dating from the late middle ages to the nineteenth century. Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan marks the first time the Morgan has gathered these spectacular volumes together in a single exhibition.

On view are such treasures as a thirteenth-century treatise on animals and their uses that is regarded by some experts as one of the greatest of all Islamic manuscripts, single illuminated pages, Qur'ans, and an illustrated treatise on astrology, wonders of the world, demonology, and divination.

A rare, illustrated translation of the life of Rumi, the celebrated Persian poet and mystic, reveals the special place of poetry in Persian culture.

http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=50
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/08/treasures-of-islamic-manu_n_1076304.html#undefined

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


This major international loan exhibition explores Islamic art and culture through the universal tradition of gift giving. Many of the most spectacular and historically significant examples of Islamic art can be classified as gifts, a number of which are brought together here for the unique purpose of demonstrating the integral and complex nature of gift exchange in the Islamic world. Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts emphasizes a shared humanity rather than singular histories.

http://mfah.org/exhibitions/gifts-sultan-arts-giving-islamic-courts/

Islamic Cubistic Art of Syrian artist Mouteea Murad

Syrian artist Mouteea Murad has revisited the Islamic cubistic art in his exhibition of abstract paintings “Through the Looking Glass II,” presently up at Ayyam Gallery. Murad’s first solo exhibition in Beirut is comprised of seven acrylic-on-canvas works, all “juxtaposing order and chaos,” as gallery press notes put it, of geometric abstraction.


In the early years of his career, Murad’s early painting was preoccupied with dark personalities, but he later felt the urge to reorient his work to an exploration of color.

Embracing the art history of this region, Murad takes his audience on an exploration of colorful spaces composed of stripes, squares and perspective, entirely living up to the kaleidoscopic promise of the show’s nod to “Through the Looking-Glass,” Lewis Carroll’s 1871 sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

THE DAILY STAR :: Culture :: Art :: A geometry of color and dimension:

Persian Circles

The principles of unity, abstraction and harmony with nature and the heavens, as fundamental to Islamic art, are symbolized in this circular geometry of the plane.

Persian Circles from FotoFilm production on Vimeo.

11/22/11

Written Images Contemporary Calligraphy from the Middle East

 
The work of more than a dozen influential artists from the Middle East offers a rare glimpse into the contemporary Arab and Iranian art worlds. Written Images: Contemporary Calligraphy from the Middle East, curated by noted art historian Karin von Roques, explores the role of traditional Islamic calligraphy and symbols in the contemporary Middle Eastern consciousness. 


11/20/11

Explore Collections of Islamic Art in Spain | Madrid

http://www.explorewithmwnf.net/museum_items.php?id=Mus01%3Bes%3BISL&begin=0

New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia


More than one thousand works from the preeminent collection of the Museum's Department of Islamic Art—one of the most comprehensive gatherings of this material in the world—have returned to view in a completely renovated, expanded, and reinstalled suite of fifteen galleries. The organization of the galleries by geographical area emphasizes the rich diversity of the Islamic world, over a span of thirteen hundred years, by underscoring the many distinct cultures within its fold.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/new-galleries-for-the-art-of-the-arab-lands-turkey-iran-central-asia-and-later-south-asia

Wonder of the Age Master Painters of India


Indian paintings have traditionally been classified according to regional styles or dynastic periods, with an emphasis on subject matter and narrative content. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to securely link innovations in style with specific artists and their lineages. Together with a careful study of artist's inscriptions and scribal colophons, it is now possible to construct a more precise chronology of the development of Indian painting.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/wonder-of-the-age--master-painters-of-india-11001900

10/24/11

The Conference of the Birds: Page from a manuscript



The text on this folio pertains to the hoopoe's speech in which he proposes that the birds set out on a journey to find the Simurgh. In this illustration, the birds have assembled and listen to the hoopoe at the middle right.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/63.210.11

10/20/11

Calligraphy of Sadequain (1930 – 1987)

Sadequain (1930 – 1987) received international acclaim during the early 1960s, when he was recognized as the “Laureate Binnale de Paris” in 1961, and also chosen to illustrate the novel, titled The Stranger, written by Nobel Laureate Albert Camus in 1964. He received widely positive coverage in the media in Europe and the USA and he was compared to Picasso in the French press when living in Paris during the 1960s. Later, during 1974 and 1975, Sadequain had highly successful exhibition tours of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Sadequain is practically a household name in his native Pakistan, but since his last exhibition tours, he has become virtually unknown in the Western world.

http://www.sadequainfoundation.com/calligraphies

J. Pierpont Morgan Library's Islamic manuscript paintings

Those who have visited it know that the resplendent New York library of financier J. Pierpont Morgan is less a museum than a walkable trove of artistic and cultural riches. Among those riches is a valuable collection of Islamic manuscript paintings, which has never been exhibited in its entirety — until now.

....includes in the collection, an important edition of Ibn Bakhtishu’s “Uses of Animals,” and one of only two known illustrated lives of the poet Rumi — and its history ...

http://www.salon.com/2011/10/15/the_morgans_dazzling_islamic_manuscript_paintings/singleton/

10/17/11

Laila and Majnun at School: Page from the Khamsa of Nizami (Quintet of Nizami) (1994.232.4) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Herat, present-day Afghanistan
Ink, opaque watercolors, and gold on paper
Artist: possibly Mir Khalil; calligrapher: Ja'far

This splendid painting is from a manuscript of the frequently illustrated story of Laila and Majnun by the twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami of Ganja (a city in the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan). It was commissioned by the Timurid prince Baysunghur of Herat, one of the greatest bibliophiles in all Islamic history, who gathered at his court the very best painters from Baghdad, Tabriz, Shiraz, and Samarkand to illustrate his matchless collection of books. The illustration depicts Qais, the future "mad one" (Majnun) for love, and Laila, his beloved, who meet for the first time as children at a mosque school. Laila and Majnun at School: Page from the Khamsa of Nizami (Quintet of Nizami) (1994.232.4) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sultan Muhammad Nur: The Night Journey of Muhammad on His Steed, Buraq (1974.294.2) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Painter: Unknown; Calligrapher: Sultan Muhammad Nur Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Colors, ink, and gold on paper

The heavenly journey of the Prophet forms a centerpiece of Muslim piety. Persian poets from the thirteenth century onward prefaced their epics with a colorful description of the micraj, the heavenly journey that brought the Prophet into the immediate presence of God. This miniature is particularly interesting as the Prophet is shown with his face unveiled, riding on the mysterious mount Buraq. Later pictures of Muhammad generally show him with a veil covering his face, and in more recent times even his entire body is usually symbolized by a white cloud or a rose.

Sultan Muhammad Nur: The Night Journey of Muhammad on His Steed, Buraq (1974.294.2) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

10/13/11

Islamic Arts initiative at Frankfurt Book Fair

ABU DHABI – Kalima, the translation project of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), launched its “Islamic Arts” initiative on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Book Fair. This initiative includes a rich collection of books specialised in Islamic arts. The collection includes “Tratado de arquitectura hispanomusulmana (the Architecture of Mosques),” “The Art of the Islamic Garden,” “Arab Dress a Short History: From the Dawn of Islam to Modern Times,” “Islamic Textiles" and “Lustre Pottery: Technique, Tradition and Innovation in Islam and the Western World.”

http://www.kalima.ae/en/readnew.aspx?id=94

10/8/11

Exhibition of Pakistan’s Award Winning Calligraphers

Alla’ma bil Qalam 

Alla’ma bil Qalam is title of the Exhibition of Arabic/Quranic calligraphy being organized by the Consulate General of Pakistan from 1-4 October 2011 at Sheraton Ball Room, Jeddah. The work of Pakistan’s award winning calligraphers will be displayed in the Exhibition. The work of the current Chief Khattat of Masjid Al Nabvi Al Sharif, Mr. Shafiq uzzaman Khan and former Naqqash of Masjid Al Nabvi Al Sharif, Mr. Asghar Ali will be among the exhibits. The exhibits will be in Khat Kufi, Deewani, Thulth, Naskh and Nastaleeq.

10/5/11

Exhibition: Visual Poetry: Beautiful Calligraphy



“Visual Poetry: Beautiful Calligraphy” incorporates some of Hamid Ajami’s most recent, striking works. As a Leading pioneer in Calligraphy, Hamid Ajami, pursued this sacred art form from the age of 15, has founded an innovative new style of Persian Calligraphy: “Moala” – a transformative process that has occurred for the first time in 200 years in Iran’s history of Calligraphy.

http://www.micagallery.com/poetry.html

Calligrapher: Hamid Ajami



Hamid Ajami was born in 1962 in a traditional family in Tehran. His late father, Mr. Hedayatollah, a respectful poet and a prestiged calligrapher, was his first instructor. Hamid Ajami started his serious activities with Iran’s Calligraphy Association in 1978, to get familiar with principles and regulations of academic calligraphy.

http://www.moala.net/index.htm

9/30/11

The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia



This focus show features writing instruments produced in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, Isfahan and Kyoto. Every culture that values the art of writing has found ways to reflect the prestige and pleasure of writing through beautiful tools.

http://thewalters.org/eventscalendar/eventdetails.aspx?e=2053

Islamic Museum of Australia

9/29/11

Calligrapher Hassan Massoudy



Hassan MASSOUDY was born in 1944 in Najef, South of Iraq. He grew up amid the scalding heat of the desert, in a traditional Iraqi society characterised by strong religious beliefs, a high sense of solidarity and a keenness for festive gatherings. As youngster, in this town where all images were prohibited, he fulfilled his passion for art by making drawings and calligraphies while investing all his energy to get paper and pigments.

http://hassan.massoudy.pagesperso-orange.fr/english.htm

9/28/11

Rachid Koraïchi - winner of £25,000 Jameel Prize

Algerian born Rachid Koraïchi has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize for a selection of embroidered cloth banners from a series entitled Les Maitres invisibles (The Invisible Masters), 2008. Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, Hasan Jameel and Ed Vaizey MP, presented Rachid Koraïchi with the prize at a ceremony at the V&A on Monday 12 September.

http://islamicartsmagazine.com/blog/view/rachid_koraichi_is_a_winner_of_the_jameel_prize_2011/

Craftsmen from Morocco at work on the Moroccan Court

9/22/11

Islamic Art Treasures at the Metropolitan Museum - NYTimes.com

Islamic Art Treasures at the Metropolitan Museum - NYTimes.com: IN one of Washington Irving’s tales from “The Alhambra,” the short-story collection that rooted the great 14th-century Moorish landmark in the American imagination, a poor Spaniard and his daughter discover a hidden chamber deep within the abandoned palace’s crumbling walls and spirit away the treasure inside.

9/7/11

The Jameel Prize 2011

The Jameel Prize 2011 - Arab News: Celebrating works inspired by the Islamic world around the globe
The Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London has been home to a vast collection of Islamic art for more than 150 years. Today, the Museum has taken a step beyond simply showcasing it, they have joined efforts with the Abdulatif Jameel Group’s Community Initiative to highlight and encourage work inspired by the faith. The Jameel Prize is a biennial award recognizing the use of Islamic design and art technique in contemporary work.

9/2/11

PBS's Independent Lens Documentary on the story of Naif Al-Mutawa and team of superheroes from the Muslim world

A trailer from WHAM! BAM! ISLAM!, Isaac Solotaroff's documentary that will air on PBS's Independent Lens on October 13th (check your local listings). WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! tells the story of Naif Al-Mutawa and his venture to create the first team of superheroes from the Muslim world called THE 99. Following the tumultuous journey of THE 99 from concept to reality, from international acclaim to censure by cultural gatekeepers, Al-Mutaw doggedly pursues his vision to bring new heroes to Muslim children while re-introducing Islam to the West.

8/25/11

National Museum of Iraq on Google Maps



Baghdad, Irag - Opened in 1926 the National Museum of Iraq contains precious relics from Mesopotamian civilization, its collections amongst the most important in the world. It contains important artifacts from the over 5,000 year long history of Mesopotamia in 28 galleries and vaults.

The National Museum of Iraq, reopened to the public since March 2011, can now be explored with Google Street View. A team from Google took photographs from within the museum using Street View technology and specialized equipment for detail views of the artifacts. This was the company's first ever effort to photo-document the interior collection of an arts institution.

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery.html#world-landmarks

8/3/11

BBC News - Senegal's Mourides: Islam's mystical entrepreneurs

BBC News - Senegal's Mourides: Islam's mystical entrepreneurs: "Many of the street vendors commonly seen in Italy, France and Spain selling sunglasses, bags and souvenirs are members of a highly industrious, entrepreneurial branch of Sufi Islam, which has its roots in Senegal.

At the entrance to Touba, Senegal's second-largest city, is a gateway arching over the road under which a sign urges visitors to respect the orders of the local Islamic leader and to not smoke.

Touba, a four-hour drive east of the Senegalese capital Dakar, is the spiritual home of the Mouride Brotherhood, a branch of Islam which holds the sanctity of work as one of its core beliefs."

8/1/11

A medieval monument to religious pluralism, hidden in the mountains of Afghanistan

A medieval monument to religious pluralism, hidden in the mountains of Afghanistan: "One of the great wonders of the medieval world is a very tall, heavily ornamented minaret nestled in a green valley at the edge of the Jam river in what is now Afghanistan. Often called the Minaret of Jam, the monument was almost a millenium ago illuminated by a torch at its top, and surrounded by a thriving town with small industries and outlying farms."

Kuwait's new mosque is more than a nod to the Taj Mahal - The National

Kuwait's new mosque is more than a nod to the Taj Mahal - The National: "KUWAIT CITY // India has always been an important source of the foreign labour that has built Kuwait's skyscrapers, taught in its schools and run its businesses.

With the opening of a mosque this year, the subcontinent has become a source of architectural inspiration, too. The As-Sadeeqa Fatimatul Zahra Mosque, built in the style of the Taj Mahal, is already gaining a reputation as one of Kuwait's most distinctive buildings.

'It's giving a sight for the [passengers of] planes when they come in,' said Eisa Mohammed, the supervisor of the Shiite mosque in the Abdullah al Mubarak residential area, a suburb on the approach to Kuwait International Airport."