Picturing IslamArt and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld
Picturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld explores issues of religion, nationalism, ethnicity, and globalization through the life and work of the prominent contemporary Indonesian artist Abdul Djalil Pirous. Presents a unique addition to the anthropology of art and religion Demonstrates the impact of Islam, ethnicity, nationalism, and globalization on the work and life of an internationally recognized postcolonial artist Weaves together visual and narrative materials to tell an engrossing story of a cosmopolitan Muslim artist Looks at contemporary Islamic art and the way it has been produced in the world's largest Muslim nation, Indonesia
List of Illustrations viii Preface xi Acknowledgments xiii Note on Qur'anic Verse xvii Guide to Indonesian Spelling and Pronunciation xviii Introduction: Picturing Islam 1 1 Becoming a Muslim Citizen and Artist 15 2 Revelations and Compulsions 39 3 Diptych – Making Art Islamic and Making Islamic Art Indonesian 54 Part 1: Making Art Islamic 54 Part 2: Making Islamic Art Indonesian 66 4 Spiritual Notes in the Social World 80 5 Anguish, Betrayal, Uncertainty, and Faith 107 Conclusion: A Retrospective 132 Afterword: Choosing a Frame 143 References 148 Index 155
"This refreshing approach makes this book a welcome contribution to be read in conjunction with other relevant theoretical and disciplinary works." (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 1 February 2012) "This book provides a compelling and richly drawn portrait of an individual artist, and contributes to a deeper understating of the cultural politics of Asia's postcolonial art world and the creative and ethnic sensibilities of its Muslim artists. It is a must-read for contemporary art historians and anthropologists alike." (Journal of Folklore Research, 19 January 2011) "Written in straightforward language with extraordinary sensitivity, this book is addressed to undergraduate students of anthropology, religion, and art history." (Museum Anthropology Review, 2011)
Kenneth M. George is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an associate of its Center for Southeast Asian Studies. His ethnographic work on contemporary Indonesian art has been supported by many fellowships including awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. George's first book, Showing Signs of Violence, was awarded the 1998 Harry J. Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies by the Association for Asian Studies. He also served as the Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies from 2005 through 2008.
Indonesian painter Abdul Djalil Pirous's pioneering advances in abstract modernism and modern Islamic aesthetics have established him as a leading figure in the world of Asian art. In Picturing Islam, cultural anthropologist Kenneth George explores issues of religion, nationalism, ethnicity, and globalization through the life and work of this original contemporary artist. Working in close collaboration with Pirous, George tells a captivating story about this painter’s pursuit of a political, religious, and artistic identity as it emerged over the course of modern Indonesian history -- from a time of revolution and anti-colonial struggle to the current period of post-authoritarian hope and uncertainty. Along the way, George reveals the artist’s anguished paintings and reflections on the culture of violence that Indonesia unleashed in his ethnic homeland of Aceh, as well as his embrace of Islamic aesthetics and ethics as a way to resist being defined by globalized art styles and discourses emanating from the West. While providing a compelling and richly drawn portrait of an individual artist, Picturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld also contributes to a deeper understanding of the cultural politics of Asia’s postcolonial art world as well as the creative and ethical sensibilities of its Muslim artists.
“Scholarship on Islam in Indonesia has long lacked a good study of contemporary Islamic art. Beautifully written and theoretically nuanced, Kenneth George’s Picturing Islam is just such book, setting a new standard for the study of Islam and the arts in Indonesia.” —Robert W. Hefner, Boston University “This book is the future of ethnographic writing about art and a must-read for contemporary art historians and anthropologists alike. No portrait of an artist better reveals the creative processes of an artist so deeply in tune with his spirit and how a spiritual quest becomes an artistic journey.” —Nora A. Taylor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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