Modern Islamic Art

Oct 23rd, 2007, in Society, by

Islamic art principles and modern Indonesian art.

According to Agus Priyatno, a lecturer in Art at the State University of Medan (Unimed), Indonesian culture is currently being torn in two directions, with two competing influences, Islamization or Islamification, and westernisation or occidentalization.

Out of this competition three strains of culture have emerged, one based on Islam, one based on western culture, and one a hybrid or mixture of the two. He does not mention “indigenous”, or non Islam-based Indonesian culture/s.

The hybrid form comes about because there are aspects of Islam and western culture which are not in contradiction, and the resulting mix of the two produces innovative and creative expressions, most often seen in the worlds of modern art, architecture, fashion, and lifestyle.

Priyatno is most interested in the Islamic side of the hybrid and says that the elements of Islam which are expressed in modern art, particularly since the 1960’s, are depictions of people praying, or going on the Hajj, or art based on stories of the prophets, or Quranic verses.

Modern art which presents these elements of Islam is based on modern calligraphy and abstract and representational painting.

Priyatno recommends that the government establish an Islamic art curriculum for schools of higher learning, and also a dedicated Islamic art university which can teach Islamic principles in art and satisfy the demands of Indonesian Muslims for Islam-based art. suaramerdeka

4 Comments on “Modern Islamic Art”

  1. colson says:

    I wonder if this hybrid art in some ways is meant to be similar to the art of Byzantium ( 300 – 1400) like for instance John Chrystostomos in the Aya Sophia or for instance “God’s Lamb” Jan van Eyck ( 1390 – 1441). If so, it may be a viable option. Religious art has no doubt produced great masterpieces before.

    However I don’t think it to be a fertile idea to make art an official instrument of any authority, be it a state, an ideology or a religion. That would at odds with the very quintessence of art as a totally free enterprise – the way it usually is defined today. It has been tried before and failed miserably ( neither the Sowjet Union nor the Saudi’s had/have any worthwhile official art life).

  2. iamisaid says:

    I go along with what colson says : “the very quintessence of art as a totally free enterprise.”

    And like what Chairman Mao once said, “let flowers bloom”, in this regard, creativity in art should not stymied.

    I always marvel at the various art forms of Islamic calligraphy.

    I have been a longtime fan of Hassan Massoudy whom I think shows great artistry in modern Islamic calligraphic art. His works can be seen at :

  3. art man says:

    i go along with what colson says

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