The images we see of Islam in the media often conjure images of international terrorism, submissive women, or angry mobs in protest somewhere overseas. In this flood of stereotype-inducing images, we often lose sight of the more elegant and rich parts of Islamic civilization and culture. A new documentary film, Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World by Unity Productions Foundation (PBS broadcast summer 2012) seeks to present some of the riches of Islamic artistic contributions to an American audience.
On March 10th, this new film will be premiering in Chicago at the Muvico Theater to an audience of civic, faith-based, and Muslim leaders throughout the city. The film opens a window onto the larger field of Islamic art â€” a window that we donâ€™t often look out of â€” one that starts in the seventh century Arabia, and continues to today in every corner of the world. It tracks the predominant art forms, motifs, and accomplishments of Muslim artists across many different countries.
A documentary, like any film, is a journey. It starts with a question. In the case of this film, the filmmakers asked: What is the story of Islamic art? To answer this question, we engaged a dozen leading experts, art critics, and artists from across the world, and we take you to multiple continents and bring you up close to the most dazzling monuments and artistic achievements that Islamic culture has contributed to the world.
The 90-minute documentary is produced and presented by Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media foundation that has made several other PBS films, including Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, and Prince Among Slaves. It is directed by the Emmy award-winning filmmaker Robert Gardner, and narrated by Academy Award-winning performer Susan Sarandon.
The Chicago premiere will feature a keynote address from the filmâ€™s executive producer, Michael Wolfe, author of a number of books on Islam, including The Hadj: An Americanâ€™s Pilgrimage to Mecca.