Art exhibition: Love for the Prophet

Catch it while you can! A new Islamic art exhibition opens on the South Bank for just five days next week. Celebrating the Prophet Muhammed’s 1445th birthday, the public can see Love for the Prophet at the Oxo Tower from Wednesday to Sunday.

The exhibition is based on the work of Turkish calligraphic genius Hafız Osman Efendi (1052-1110) who broke with tradition, taking what was usually small, pocket-sized text about the Prophet and representing it in a larger and more artist graphic arrangement. As a result, Osman’s beautifully drawn Arabic words acquired the name Hilye-i-Şerif (‘noble decoration’).

As Islam expressly forbids the visual representation of Allah and His messengers, the artistry of calligraphers came to the fore, while also helping to tell us something about the man who was, according to Islam, God’s final prophet on Earth. Among the details Osman captured about the Prophet were that:

“He was not too tall, nor was he too short. He was of medium height amongst the nation. His hair was not short and curly, nor was it lank. It would hang down in waves. His face was not overly plump, nor was it fleshy, yet it was somewhat circular. His complexion was rosy white. His eyes were large and black, and his eyelashes were long. He was large-boned and broad-shouldered.”

The exhibition is sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, İstanbul Sanat Medeniyet Vakfı, and Turkish Airlines.

Exhibition: Love for the Prophet

Dates: Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th April 2016

Opening times: 10am to 5.30pm daily

Venue address:  Oxo Tower, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH

Entry: FREE