Aylesbury to host major celebration of Islamic culture

Razwan Baig, a major lender to the Islamic exhibition in Aylesbury
Razwan Baig, a major lender to the Islamic exhibition in Aylesbury

A major exhibition celebrating the achievements of Islamic civilisation is being mounted in Aylesbury later this year.

Organisers claim it is the largest display of Islamic art ever seen in public in the county or anywhere in the South East outside the great museums.

Treasures on display include carpets, paintings, furniture, metalwork, jewellery and calligraphy from across Asia – as well as one of the largest collections of Qur’ans in the country.

The Art of Islam Festival, which runs from March 26 until September 24, is being organised by Buckinghamshire County Museum Trust.

It will be centred at the Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury, but more than 100 associated events are planned across the county in collaboration with mosques, libraries and arts venues.

Events are proposed in Aylesbury, Chesham,High Wycombe and Milton Keynes, and include opportunities for visitors to experience Islamic literature, poetry, ceramics, painting, music, calligraphy and textiles.

The exhibition has been boosted by a grant of £49,950 from the Arts Council which will help fund events around the county.

The exhibits will be borrowed from the British Museum, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, the Horniman Museum in London and from a major private collection owned by renowned UK collector and philanthropist Razwan Baig.

Richard de Peyer, director of the Buckinghamshire County Museum Trust,said: “We are hugely excited by this exhibition.

“It’s one of the biggest and most ambitious we have organised and the exhibits are simply stunning.

“I think the public are in for a big treat.”

Details of the other festival events have not yet been fully announced but include schools activities in drama and graphic art, arts award workshops for geometric design, talks, garden events and entertainments with an Islamic theme.

For opening hours of the Art of Islam Festival, the events programme will be published in February with all events listed on the website.

Visit www.buckscountymuseum.org for more information.