The themes themselves open up some understanding of the Islamic experience. Starting with the word, it allows viewers to get a sense of the elevated centrality of the Qur’an, the message, and meaning to Islamic art. While in other traditions images and pictures would be embellished using the best materials, in Islamic art we find that it is the words of the Qur’an that are honored with the best of materials and artisanship. The theme of Space looked at the development of architecture, particularly the space of the mosque that was created as a place for prayer and connection with the divine. Space also included palaces which were created incorporating imagery of paradise. Ornamentation was focused on as another theme particular to Islamic art, as it is used to transform ordinary objects, from the building themselves, to the furnishings and items for daily use. The geometrical patterns and various designs would have the effect of indicating beyond the object to the infinite. The last section, Water, again showed how the imagery of Heaven found in the Qur’an was brought into Islamic design as the Muslim world produced gardens and fountains.
IIIT has supported the work of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) from their earliest projects which have included films such a Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet , Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, Prince Among Slaves and many other great films. UPF has been a pioneer in building understanding through media and dialogue, which projects such as: 20,000 Dialogues that created dialogues in people’s homes around UPF films, My Fellow American which allows Americans who know Muslims to share their stories of experiences with friends and co-workers, as well as other innovative outreach initiatives. To expand their efforts in combatting stereotypes, and building dialogue and understanding, the UPF team created MOST (Muslims on Screen and Television), in order to provide consultation to Hollywood in order to help them have more accurate, balanced and positive Muslim representation in film and television.
The program ended with a sneak peak at UPF’s new film that is forth coming. The trailer presented a story of a Muslim woman who became a hero in World War II. We look forward to seeing the full film! IIIT also looks forward to working more with UPF to share their films and resources with wider audiences in the coming year.