Curating 'ILM': Chapter or Bridge?

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


As a versatile and distinctive approach to the concept of ‘knowledge’, ʿilm can influence the curation of art exhibitions. The act of curatorship is an act of explicit knowledge production, with intentions that are distinct from the haptic knowledge of the makers or the tacit knowledge of the visitors and/or the previous owners of the objects displayed. The curation of exhibitions acknowledges that those forms of knowledge can be balanced, which is a core component of museum and gallery education. The concept of ʿilm provides a means to conceptualise this need to frame ‘knowledge’ holistically. This study is based on the observation that audiences responded differently to Egyptian Tentmaker Applique exhibitions (khiyāmiyya, appropriated as khayamiya) held in regional Australia and the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia (IAMM) in Kuala Lumpur. From an immersive setting within Islamic visual culture, these textiles formed a new ‘chapter’ in a much larger story. Within Australia, these spectacular textiles were admired for their affinities to quilting and were appreciated by visitors as cultural ‘bridges’. Each exhibition enabled the creation and transmission of haptic, tacit, and explicit knowledge — forms of knowledge that can all be considered under the conceptual structures of ʿilm. Yet each model — chapter and bridge — featured limitations that shaped the goals of each exhibition. This study identifies the implications of these forms of knowledge when situating ‘Islamic’ art in the context of exhibitions, and what ʿilm may offer curators and educators as a conceptual framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication'Ilm
Subtitle of host publicationScience, religion and art in Islam
EditorsSamer Akkach
Place of PublicationAdelaide, Australia
PublisherUniversity of Adelaide Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781925261752, 9781925261769
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event'Ilm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam - The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 20 Jul 201623 Jul 2016 (conference program)


Conference'Ilm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Curating 'ILM': Chapter or Bridge?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this