New Sharjah exhibition explores unique links between water, Islam and art

Opening on June 10 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, the show includes 120 artworks and objects

Interior photograph of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation in Sharjah. Sarah Dea / The National
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An upcoming exhibition at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation will look at the unique connection between water, art and Islam.

Titled Drop by Drop, Life Falls from the Sky: Water, Islam and Art, the show will include 120 artworks and objects that provide insights into the importance of water in Islam, not only for ablutions, but also its symbolic significance as written in the Quran.

Opening on June 10, it is a collaboration between Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), which runs Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, and the Fondazione Torino Musei in Turin, Italy.

The exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation tells the story of water, art and Islam, through different artworks realised in several materials. Courtesy Sharjah Museums Authority

Comprised of four themes, the exhibition explores the blessings of water and Islam, water and daily life, traditional hammam and gardens.

A number of objects on loan for the exhibition have been drawn from 16 renowned Italian public and private collections and from the collections of Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation and Sharjah Art Museum. The list of artefacts include a range from manuscripts, metalwork, pottery, glass, textiles, carpets, stones linked to Islamic art.

Among the artworks on view are a 19th-century Ottoman bowl, acquired during Ottoman rule in the Balkans, that bears elements from Byzantine world, Venice and Northern Europe, plus a number of Ottoman flasks, some of which have been used by pilgrims in Mecca as they drew water from the Zamzam Well.

There is also a large circular basin with inscriptions on the victories of Sultan Al Malik Al Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun, a sultan of Egypt during the Mamluk period.

In the section on gardens, visitors can see a water fountain from Ghazni in Afghanistan, sculpted out of marble with geometrical and arabesques decoration.

As part of the exhibition, SMA and Fondazione Torino Musei will present a seminar on the show and its themes on Saturday, June 12, moderated by Ida Zilio Grandi, director of the Italian Cultural Institute – Embassy of Italy to the UAE in Abu Dhabi.

In addition, a 300-page catalogue, available in Arabic, English and Italian, has been published for the exhibition and contains more than 120 colour illustration and essays on the subjects explored in the show.

Drop by Drop, Life Falls from the Sky: Water, Islam and Art runs from June 10 to December 11 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation. More information is available at