This conversation coincides with the launch of the publication Islam at the Tropenmuseum by curator Mirjam Shatanawi. The book explores the history of ‘collecting’ and ‘displaying’ Islam at the Tropenmuseum, framed within a broader discussion of the changing ways in which Islam, as a religion and as a set of practices, have been understood and materialized throughout time within the museum. The evenings conversations will take up one of the key premises of the book exploring why so little attention has been paid to Islamic collections from Indonesia within the museum. Although Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Islamic population and the Indonesian collection of the Tropenmuseum one of the largest and most important worldwide, very few of those objects have been collected or categorized as Islamic. What accounts for such a disregard?
The keynote speaker for the evening’s event will be James Bennett, Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Bennett was previously curator of South East Asian art and Material Multure at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. He has curated numerous exhibitions, including the groundbreaking Crescent Moon: Islamic Art & Civilisation in South East Asia. In his presentation Bennett will not only reflect on this seminal exhibition but also suggest approaches to reframing Indonesian collections to uncover their hidden histories.
The book’s author Mirjam Shatanawi will explore some of the histories of collecting Islam at the Tropenmuseum, using examples from the book. Other guest speakers will include Marieke Bloembergen (KITLV) and Remco Raben (Utrecht University). This conversation will be moderated by Bart Barendregt (Leiden University).
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