Houston Celebrates Successful Debut of New Islamic Gallery

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Celebrates Successful Debut of New Islamic Gallery Supported by Philanthropist Franci Neely

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has recently opened a new Art of the Islamic Worlds gallery showcasing over 170 objects, featuring ceramics, paintings, tapestries, calligraphy, and more.

The gallery aims to educate visitors about the diversity and richness of Islamic culture and art, which has often been misrepresented or misunderstood in the West.

MFAH Art of the Islamic Worlds curator Aimée Froom said, “Encompassing diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and regional traditions, this new presentation will convey the extraordinarily vibrant contributions and legacies of Islamic civilizations.” And it’s all thanks to art-loving patrons like Franci Neely.

The gallery’s debut was met with positive reviews from visitors and experts alike, who praised the breadth and depth of the collection. The gallery is expected to draw visitors from all over the world, further cementing the MFAH’s reputation as a leading cultural institution.

Some of the highlights of the display are the 17th-century tile panel titled “Layla and Majnun,” a Moroccan Quran manuscript on parchment paper, and a 12th-century bronze incense burner.

The gallery also features a number of textiles, including a stunning 17th-century “King Umberto II Polonaise” carpet made from silk and foil-wrapped silk.

The gallery provides a much-needed counternarrative to the negative stereotypes and misconceptions about Islamic culture and art.

“In the 16 years I’ve been involved with this initiative, I have made deep and lasting friendships with people from Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon, and Kuwait,” said Franci Neely. “We have traveled together to expand our horizons and knowledge of parts of the world steeped in the history, culture, and art of Islam and other religions. We have watched the Houston collection grow from almost nothing to thousands of objects in all different mediums, representing the rich tapestry of the Islamic world.”

The opening of the new Art of the Islamic World’s gallery at the MFAH is a significant event for the museum and for the art world as a whole. The gallery provides a much-needed platform for showcasing the richness and diversity of Islamic art and culture and serves as a reminder of the importance of cultural understanding and appreciation in today’s world.