Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al-Qasimi to unveil exceptional collection of lithographs

Published March 14th, 2010 - 07:29 GMT

Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, will unveil a collection of lithographs provided by the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) to the Department of Performing and Visual Arts at the American University in Cairo (AUC) on March 14, 2010.

The lithographs are by David Roberts RA, a world-renowned architectural artist famous for his ‘Egypt’ and ‘Holy Lands’ series, and are inspired by his journeys through Egypt in 1838 and 1839.

SMD is lending the lithographs, from Sharjah Art Museum’s permanent collection, to the American University in Cairo for a temporary exhibition at the Sharjah Art Gallery, located on AUC’s New Cairo campus. The arrangement has been facilitated through SMD, the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information (Arts Directorate), and the American University in Cairo. 

The Sharjah Art Gallery at AUC has been developed through a donation by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi and was inaugurated in February 2009 marked by an exhibition of an exceptional collection of world-renowned paintings of Egyptian people and the country’s landscape.

The AUC exhibition will be followed by another showing of the lithographs at the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Art Museum in Cairo. 

Dr Amr Abdel-Hamid, Special Advisor to HH the Ruler of Sharjah for Higher Education, said: “These lithographs and prints depict a very specific period of time and a very personal journey. They are works of beauty in their own right, but they also give us a window into how we can share in so many more of these voyages.

"Lithographs are a great means of capturing moments from the past and the sooner we can introduce that concept to students the better. By sharing these items, we are sharing knowledge and instilling an interest which fosters the desire to learn.”

Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: “The loan of this collection highlights our commitment to the sharing of our rich museum collections, which underlines Sharjah’s rich artistic and cultural legacy, but more importantly reiterates our objective of public outreach and learning with higher education institutions across the region.”

Describing the collection as 'inspiring', AUC President David Arnold said the students were privileged to experience the works first-hand. “Sharjah has a wonderful reputation for its love of culture and heritage, whether that stretches back millennia, centuries or even decades. These prints are the perfect example of how we must all try to preserve our past and how it can inspire the next generation. They do not merely record a moment in time; they instil a passion for students to make their own mark on the world. How better to illustrate the perfect blend of history and achievement than through these beautiful works?”

The exhibition focuses on two main themes – the contemporary landscape in 1838/39 such as scenes of the Nile, Cairo city, its architecture and people; and a larger group of sketches illustrating mostly the many famous ruins that Roberts encountered on his journey from Upper Egypt down the Nile to Cairo and Alexandria. Prints include images of the temples of Abu Simbel and Philae in the south, the columns of Karnak and the temple of Luxor to the Pyramids of Giza in the north.

The exhibition will also feature a rare map of the Nile from Nubia to the Mediterranean marked with the places that Roberts sketched and later painted. Many of these paintings were made into lithographs by L. Haghe, and published by E.G. Moon, London in book form in 1849.

The Sharjah Museums Department, established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, aims to promote the emirate’s rich legacy of arts, heritage and culture.

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