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Islamic Art: Mirror Of The Invisible World

Airs Friday, July 6, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Djenné Mosque, Mali, Africa. Travel to nine countries and across 1,400 years of cultural history to explore the astonishing artistic and architectural riches of Islam. With the insights and commentary of leading art scholars from around the world, the film delves into the art of religious life in Islamic culture and into the secret world inside the palaces of the elite.

"Islamic Art: Mirror Of The Invisible World" transports viewers to nine countries and across 1,400 years of cultural history to explore the astonishing riches of Islamic art and architecture.

Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
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Above: Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

A pottery maker and her child.
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Above: A pottery maker and her child.

Carpet Weaving
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Above: Carpet Weaving

Executive producers Alexander Kronemer and Michael Wolfe of Unity Productions Foundation created this special. Produced and directed by Robert Gardner and narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, "Islamic Art" not only explores the art of religious life in Islamic culture, but also reveals the secret world of rulers and their private palaces.

“Though Islamic art differs from Western art in some respects, like all art it carries the values and perspectives of its creators, as well as those who commissioned it — whether religious or secular,” says Gardner. “The film provides a never-before-seen window into a culture of increasing importance to America, and sheds light on the shared histories between Western culture and Islamic culture, revealing over time much more continuity than division.”

Developed over two years, "Islamic Art" presents breathtaking high-definition footage of Egypt, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran, Spain, Mali and India. Showcasing an extraordinary array of architecture, textiles, paintings and metalwork, the scenes in the film illuminate the history of a unique culture and reflect the Islamic world as it is today.

“Audiences will explore exotic vistas that many of us have never seen, gaining access to some of the Islamic world’s most sacred places,” says Kronemer. “In addition to its beauty, the film has real weight, correctly depicting the relationship between Islamic and Western civilizations not as a centuries-long deadlock, but as an often creative conversation between powerful forces.”

"Islamic Art: Mirror Of The Invisible World" is on Facebook, and follow @IslamicArtFilm on Twitter.

Video

Trailer: Islamic Art: Mirror Of The Invisible World

Above: This documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history.