Tag: Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir

Friends of EODIAH

Dr. Richard R. Brettell and Ms. Lucy Buchanan

During the past few months, EODIAH has hosted numerous events and important programs. Here is a “snapshot” of some of our supporters.

To support EODIAH, please click here.

Your gift at any level helps fund our many collaborations, scholarly seminars, lectures and art history programs that provide an unparalleled resource to our community and beyond.

For more information, call Lucy Buchanan at (972) 883-2472 or email at lucy.buchanan@utdallas.edu.


Lucy M. Buchanan

Director of Development

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

Edith and Mr. Peter O’Donnell

Margaret McDermott and Dr. Richard C. Benson, President of UT Dallas

George Schnerk and Mrs. Margaret McDermott

Mr. and Mrs. John Ridings Lee

Dr. B. Hobson Wildenthal and Mrs. Ray Wallace

Mr. and Mrs. H. Ross Perot

Ms. Salle Stemmons

Mrs. Nancy Shutt and Mrs. Mark Lemmon

Mrs. Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly and Dr. Joanne H. Stroud-Bilby

Ms. Mary McDermott-Cook and Mr. Dan Patterson

Mr. and Mrs. George Lee Jr.

Dr. Agustín Arteaga and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Campbell

Mr. and Mrs. William Solomon

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir with Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Cattarulla

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Barrett

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Grant

Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Halbreich

Ms. Serena Ritch

Mr. and Mrs. William A. Custard

Mr. and Mrs. Jay Pack

Ms. Patricia Patterson and Mrs. William E. Rose

Report from the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History Research Center


Emblem I. A Conversation. Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. This discord may be fatal but it is not serious. The fingers point, the coffee is strong and hot, the skull session continues. (2015) (Monoprint, acrylic on paper, 22 x 27 inches)

Emblem I. A Conversation. Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. This discord may be fatal but it is not serious. The fingers point, the coffee is strong and hot, the skull session continues. (2015) (Monoprint, acrylic on paper, 22 x 27 inches)


We’ve had an exciting spring semester of workshops at the EODIAH Research Center. A diverse range of topics were presented including Ethiopian manuscript painting, museum exhibition design, and the impact of water mixable oils (WMOs) on current art conservation practice. The semester will conclude with two workshops at the EODIAH Research Center. On April 18 SMU Professor of Art Dr. Michael Corris will present his new publication, Leaving Skull City: The Afterlife of (Some) Conceptual Art, “a compilation of insightful, first-hand accounts of art making, art criticism, and exhibition organizing from the early-1970s to the present.” EODIAH fellow and newly minted Ph.D. Dr. Joseph Hartman will present his research at our final workshop of the semester on April 25,Cuba Incarcerated: The Historic Vision of Cuban Prison Architecture. The Research Center continues to be a hive of scholarly activity and a space in which to display artworks.

Curated by our own Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, the third vitrine installation showcases beautiful lusterware ceramics from the Keir Collection. The collection of objects tells the story of the revolutionary technique of luster painting with examples from Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. Come by and view our ‘sneak peek’ of Islamic lusterware before the next installation of Keir objects at the DMA opens April 18 in the Focus I Gallery.

Be sure to visit the EODIAH Programs page on our website this summer to view our Fall 2017 events!

Lauren LaRocca

Coordinator of Special Programs

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

Greetings from the Assistant Director

To launch the new year, on Saturday, January 13 the O’Donnell Institute partnered for the first time with the Crow Collection of Asian Art to present a symposium on the global histories of ceramics. Called Talavera and Ceramic Connections: East Asia, West Asia, and the Americas, the symposium brought together an all-star team of distinguished scholars to study and respond to the Crow’s stunning new exhibition Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles. The exhibition’s curator Farzaneh Pirouz was joined by Denise Leidy (Curator of Asian Art at Yale University Art Gallery), Guy Thomson (Professor Emeritus of Latin American History at University of Warwick), Jessica Hallet (Researcher in Art History at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Ronda Kasl (Curator of Latin American Art at the Metropolitan Museum), and William Sargent (Curator Emeritus of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum) for three morning lectures held at the Dallas Museum of Art and an afternoon of gallery-based break-out sections at the Crow. Like the exhibition itself, presentations and conversations were truly global in scope, ranging from sixth-century China to ninth-century Basra to sixteenth-century Mexico to circa-1900 New York. Our own Sabiha Al Khemir presided over the morning session, and Rick Brettell and Crow curator Jacqueline Chao moderated a closing panel in the afternoon.


Participants in the Crow's international symposium “Talavera and Ceramic Connections:  East Asia, West Asia, and the Americas”

Participants in the Crow’s international symposium “Talavera and Ceramic Connections: East Asia, West Asia, and the Americas”


By all accounts the symposium was a great success, and it’s precisely the kind of program that we are passionate about presenting: collaborative, object-led conversations with broad art historical implications. At the same time that speakers treated specific art historical questions like the origins of the use of cobalt blue in ceramics, the day raised larger questions with broad art historical significance: How is a complex technology transferred across space, time, and culture? How do objects made in one medium like clay dialogue with other mediums like glass and silver? How do local industries like that of Talavera in Puebla intersect with histories of class, race, and national politics? And how do our art histories of porcelain, for example, shape our practices of collecting—and vice versa? These and other questions that emerged from conversations and close looking will chart the course for future research.

Jar with Chinese double curved handles, Puebla de los Angeles, New Spain, 17th century, tin glaze earthenware with cobalt blue on white glaze, Museo Franz Mayer

Jar with Chinese double curved handles, Puebla de los Angeles, New Spain, 17th century, tin glaze earthenware with cobalt blue on white glaze, Museo Franz Mayer


If you were among the many friends and colleagues who joined us on Saturday, thank you for coming! If you were not able to attend, there is still time to see the exhibition before it closes in Dallas on February 12 and travels to Puebla, Mexico. It’s not to be missed!

Dr. Sarah K. Kozlowski

Assistant Director

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

Report of the Director

Richard Brettell - AH - Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair in Aesthetic Studies - Art History

Dr. Richard R. Brettell

The fall semester of 2016 has been almost volcanic with activity at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. We have welcomed a new visiting scholar from the University of Victoria, Professor Allan Antliff, who is in Dallas for the 2016-2017 academic year to work on a new book dealing with contemporary art and anarchist philosophy. Allan and I became friends through our mutual study of Camille Pissarro, whose anarchism is well known, and my students and I have learned a great deal from his imaginative and morally bracing kind of art history. His presence at UT Dallas will result not only in a major book but also in a long-term collaboration with the superb art history faculty at the University of Victoria, a collaboration which will be enriched by the presence on campus of Dr. Melia Belli-Bose of the University of Victoria in the spring term of 2017.

Most recently we co-organized with the Ackerman Center a symposium on the School of London, the post-WWII painters of Britain that included Freud, Bacon, Kossoff, Auerbach, Andrews, and Kitaj. The symposium coincided with a major exhibition of the group at the Getty. We have also planned a symposium with our colleagues at the Crow Collection of Asian Art devoted to the global ceramics trade centered in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puebla, Mexico. The markets of Puebla linked the Islamic ceramic tradition via Spain with the Chinese tradition via the Mexican-ruled Phillipines and the Manila galleons.

Our goal of making our DMA headquarters a “Living Room” for art historians in Dallas-Fort Worth continues to advance, and later this month we will welcome as many of our metroplex colleagues as possible to meet the DMA’s new director, Agustín Arteaga. Our schedule of workshops masterminded by Lauren LaRocca continues apace, involving O’Donnell Institute scholars and fellows as well as distinguished guests.

This fall, we have also had a good many distinguished visitors to the Institute’s UT Dallas home, including Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell, UT Dallas’s new President, Dr. Richard Benson, and the French Ambassador, Gérard Araud.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud (middle) and Consul General of France Sujiro Seam (right) visit EODIAH

French Ambassador Gérard Araud (middle) and Consul General of France Sujiro Seam (right) visit EODIAH


For me, the semester is filled with preparations for the lectures in what might well be the largest course in UT Dallas’s history, Introduction to the Visual Arts, taught to an eager group of almost 350 undergraduates in the lecture hall of the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology building. Using works of art in Dallas-Fort Worth museums as portals onto other places and other times, I endeavor to excite UT Dallas’s supremely intelligent undergraduates, the vast majority of whom major in sciences, technology, management, or social sciences, to pause and think about human history and its artistic and architectural heritage.

We have also progressed this term in our partnerships with the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, the Swiss Institute of Art History in Zurich, the University of Victoria, and, soon, a new Institute for the Study of American Art at the University of Nanjing in China.

Not bad for a little more than two years.


Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.

Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair

Dallas Becomes a Major Center for Islamic Art

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UTD and Senior Advisor for Islamic art at the DMA

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UTD and Senior Advisor for Islamic Art at the DMA

Four years ago, when I was appointed the Dallas Museum of Art’s Senior Advisor for Islamic Art, a caring colleague in Europe remarked: ‘But there is no Islamic art in Dallas!’ Thanks to the visionary institutional leadership in Dallas that reality has changed with impressive speed, and is growing ripples.

Dr. Brettell saw the significance of introducing the teaching of Islamic art at the O’Donnell Institute, and the first graduate course took place last year. This teaching experience was made all the more rewarding for me thanks to a very inspired and sharp group of students. The course brought an emphasis to the importance of cultural context and examined our ways of looking. It provided an in-depth introduction to the subject of Islamic art, highlighting its unity and diversity from Spain to South East Asia. Last year we discussed some of the main aspects of Islamic art, such as calligraphy and figural representation. The next Spring semester of 2017, the course will concentrate on distinctive styles and iconic representations of Islamic art, highlighting new topics such as technical innovations and cross cultural influences.

The course focuses on the art of the object, examining works in different mediums, produced over many centuries, especially during the Medieval period. It makes extensive use of the Keir Collection at the DMA. The Keir Collection constitutes a major resource of the material culture of the Islamic world, spanning three continents and thirteen centuries. It is a considerable benefit for the course as it enables students to examine physical objects of art. The Keir Collection, assembled over the course of five decades, is one of the most geographically and historically comprehensive of its kind, encompassing almost two thousand works—from works on paper to rock crystal, to ceramics, metalwork, carpets and textiles. The arrival of the Keir Collection at the DMA transforms Dallas into the third largest repository of Islamic art in the United States.

Next term we welcome Dr. Melia Belli-Bose, visiting from the University of Victoria. She will teach here at UT Dallas and I am excited that she will contribute to the graduate course, bringing her extensive research experience and fresh insights.

A library of Islamic art – which belonged to the scholar Dr. Oliver Watson, the IM Pei Professor of Islamic art and architecture at Oxford University – has been acquired by the EODIAH and is on its way from the United Kingdom to Dallas. It will be housed in the O’Donnell Institute space at the DMA. The library holds eleven hundred volumes and includes standard reference books as well as rare runs of journals, and a number of substantial works especially on ceramics, architecture and painting. The library will be a significant foundation for research, supporting the Keir Collection and the study of Islamic art.

Next April, the first space dedicated to Islamic art will be inaugurated at the DMA. The Keir Collection will be presented in a new purpose-designed gallery space off the Museum’s Concourse. The new long term installation will present over a hundred pieces from the collection, many of which were never shown before, while retaining some of the masterworks from last year’s exhibition Spirit and Matter, such as the celebrated Fatimid rock crystal ewer, one of only seven in the world of its caliber and the only one of its type in the United States. Over the years, the gallery will offer a rotation of pieces, especially works on paper and textiles.

A taste of what’s to come in the gallery will be revealed at the beginning of the Spring semester when we display a number of works from the Keir Collection in the EODIAH vitrine at the DMA. The theme will be luster-painting on ceramics, which is an important innovation of the Islamic world. The complex technique of luster and its alchemy (where metal oxides produce the effect of iridescence) illustrates the connection between science and art, and the transfer of knowledge from East to West.


Large bowl, ceramic, with luster-painted decoration, Iraq or Egypt, 10th century. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.220

Large bowl, ceramic, with luster-painted decoration, Iraq or Egypt, 10th century.
The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.220


I love the vitrine itself – ingeniously designed by Buchanan Architecture to physically connect the DMA and the Institute space: one can look at the display from the inside and from the outside. The vitrine physically and conceptually reflects institutional collaboration. In a way, it mirrors the dynamic of art history’s perspective: our very imperative in the Islamic art course, to look from within and from without, to look at the object, at the world within it, at the cultural context that produced it and its way of seeing the world.

The Islamic art initiative is an exciting venture with many ripples to come. The momentum for Islamic art in Dallas at present is a window into a historical step in the trajectory of Islamic art, which, in itself, is no less than a leap in the canon of art history and of fostering cross-cultural understanding.

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir

Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UT Dallas and Senior Advisor for Islamic Art at the DMA

Islamic Art Revival Series Program and Events

Islamic Art Revival Series

We believe that art is a Universal Language. We are passionate about Islamic art as a translator and connector across generations and cultures. From heart to heart, through time. Founded in 2011 by a cross-cultural coalition of business and nonprofit leaders, students, educators, artists and small business owners, the Islamic Art Revival Series (IARS) is a signature program of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, and includes a diverse group of women and men. We are passionate about sharing the rich cultural relevance of Islamic Art as a means of building awareness and exposure to the art itself and enhancing cross-cultural understanding among people from all walks of life. Through our Islamic Art events we promote education in the arts of the Islamic world and encourage vibrant cross-cultural exchange amongst all faiths and cultures. In doing so, we build cultural bridges between the Islamic cultures and rest of the world. IARS has focused on organizing and hosting events to bring Islamic Art to the public, and include film screenings, international art exhibits, symposiums, performances and art workshops which serve as a vehicle for people of all ages and backgrounds to interact in an enjoyable, educational environment.

Women’s Invitational Exhibition at the Eiesmann Center of Performing and Visual Arts in Richardson, Texas from March 1st to March 27th, 2017 curated by Shafaq Ahmad who is also the Art Director for IARS. An artists forum will be presented at the Crow Collection of Asian Art moderated by Jaqueline Chao, Curator of Asian Arts on March 4th.

5th Annual Juried International Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art curated by Shafaq Ahmad will be held at The Irving Arts Center from September 17th to November 13th, 2016. Our Juror this year is Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator of Islamic Art, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Louise Mackie, Curator or Islamic Art and Textiles at the Cleveland Museum of Art is the guest speaker at the opening on September 17th. Bahman Panahi, a French/Iranian artist, master calligrapher and musician will present Musicality of Calligraphy research and musical performance on October 1st.

Jason Moriyama, Senior Partner at Moriyama and Teshima Architects in Toronto, Canada will give a talk on Interfaith Spaces: Towards an Architecture of Understanding on October 22nd.  We are also offering workshops by artist Matt Anzak and Samia Khan, artist and IARS Program Director on October 8th and gallery tours conducted by Irving Arts Center Executive Director Todd Hawkins, and Director of Exhibitions and Educational Programs, Marcie Inman, during the eight week exhibition period.

Past Events

2015 4th Annual Juried International Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art at the LuminArte Fine Art Gallery, Juror, Salma Tuqan, Curator of Contemporary Art from the Middle East, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. Artists from around the world were selected by the Juror. IARS also offered lectures, workshop on painting on silk and gallery tours by art experts. Curated by IARS Art Director Shafaq Ahmad and Director Jamie Labar. We had keynote speakers including Dr. Aimee Froom from MFAH, Jeff Spurr previously from at Harvard University, Dr. Steven Naifeh, Pulitzer Prize winning author and also one of the participating artists.

2015 IARS Experience; a one day event offering multi-sensory and art-related experiences at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, including but not limited to workshops by international artists, including Richard Henry, Adam Williamson and Lateefa Spiker from the Prince’s School of Art and Design in London on sacred geometry and carpet weaving by artist Samia Khan, musical performances by internationally recognised artists like Malek Jandali and Baraka Blue, fashion show, art presentations, short film screenings and poetry reading etc.

We also collaborated with the Memnosyne Institute to offer workshops, lectures and round table discussions on Sacred Geometry at in collaboration with, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, University of Texas in Dallas, Southern Methodist University, The Boniuk Institute at Rice University, The Museum of Biblical Art, Ismaili community and the Thanks Giving Square.

We also collaborated with Dallas Museum of Art with calligraphy demonstrations during the opening of the Nur Exhibit, curated by Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir.

Visit our website for more information.