Comprising over 500 objects illustrating the breadth of artistic achievement in the Islamic world from early Islam in the 7th century to the early 20th century, this exhibition represents a vast range of decorative arts from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection and was the first major exhibition in Abu Dhabi's Gallery One at the Emirates Palace, which opened in April 2008.
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, this exhibition presents both the religious and secular arts of Islam, through a series of themes. These include: the development of the arts associated with manuscripts of the Holy Qur'an, especially calligraphy; arts associated with pilgrimage; everyday and treasury objects; miniature painting; and carpets and textiles. Other groups of objects focus on the talismanic use of verses of the Holy Qur'an; science in the service of religion; horsemanship; falconry; and interaction with Europe, among others.
This exhibition proved to be a considerable challenge to our team as a project of this size and complexity would normally have a 2 year lead-time, however, we were asked to complete the design and installation in just over 5 months. In addition to the general design and feel of the display, the gallery itself had to be reconfigured and also required the introduction of new glass display cases and both museum quality lighting and environmental control systems.
In the words of the chairman of the board of TDIC and ADTA, His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan "it is quite amazing how you have taken what appeared to be a quite simple gallery space and transformed it into what could only be called a museum and I congratulate you and your team on the stunning achievement I see before me today".