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Museum Series – The Curation and Influence of Islamic Art in Museums Today

April 6, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

QAIC’s Museum Series Webinar Panels bring together museum experts and curators from Qatar and the US to highlight and discuss their respective collections and the factors that impact them. The distinguished speakers will present and discuss the curation, evolution, and history of each museums’ collection and the various factors and challenges facing them.

Audiences will get a unique insider’s look into various museum’s curatorial process, the history of the collections and the differing approaches museums in the West versus the East take to acquire and successfully exhibit them. QAIC’s first Museum Series panel “ The Curation and Influence of Islamic Art in Museums Today,” will take place on April 6th at 11 am EST, focusing on the Islamic Art collections from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.


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Dr. Aimée Froom, Curator of Art of the Islamic Worlds – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Dr. Aimée Froom is curator, Art of the Islamic Worlds and co-Director, World Faiths Initiative, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Formerly Hagop Kevorkian Associate Curator of Islamic Art, Brooklyn Museum, Dr. Froom has 25 years of international curatorial and teaching experience. She earned a BA from Brown University; an MA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her most recent book publications include Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait (MFAH, 2016), The Legacy of Persian Art (MFAH, 2017), and Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands – Selections from the Hossein Afshar Collection (Yale University Press, 2019), which won 2 book awards. Dr. Froom is a 2020 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.



Dr. Julia Gonnella, Director of the Museum of Islamic Art – Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Dr. Julia Gonnella was the former curator of Berlin’s Museum of Islamic Art prior to becoming the Director of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha in 2017. After receiving her Ph.D. in Islamic studies and social anthropology at Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Gonnella joined the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin in 1994 as the assistant to the chief curator. She became a curator at the museum in 2009 and was later appointed to her current position as director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

Gonnella has done fieldwork on German excavations in Raqqa, Syria, and coordinated the Syrian-German excavations of Aleppo’s Islamic citadel. Her books include The Citadel of Aleppo (2007). She was a curatorial exchange fellow at the Met in 2013.




Dr. Linda Komaroff, Curator of Islamic Art and Department Head of Art of the Middle East – Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Dr. Linda Komaroff is Curator of Islamic Art and Department Head, Art of the Middle East, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During her tenure at LACMA, she has been actively involved with building the collection through the acquisition of the Madina Collection of Islamic Art in 2002, while in 2006 she began to acquire and exhibit contemporary art of the Middle East. In 2014, she led the effort to acquire and conserve an 18th-century Damascus Room. Her past exhibitions of historical Islamic art include The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353 (2003) and Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts (2011). Among her contemporary exhibitions is Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East (2015-2016), and combining historical and contemporary art In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art, 2018.

Currently, she is working on two shows for LACMA for 2023: Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting and Woman Defining in Contemporary Art of the Middle East. She is the author or editor of several books and exhibition catalogs and has written numerous articles and book chapters on various aspects of Islamic art as well as contemporary Middle East art. She is the recipient of a number of grants for scholarly research, including two Fulbright fellowships, and Metropolitan Museum of Art and Getty fellowships, while the Legacy of Genghis Khan exhibition catalog received the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award from the College Art Association and Gifts of the Sultan received the Annual Publication Prize for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue from the Association of Art Museum Curators. She has taught at UCLA, Hamilton College, New York University, and most recently Arizona State University.


Dr. Massumeh Farhad, Chief Curator and The Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art – Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Dr. Massumeh Farhad joined the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, in 1995 as associate curator of Islamic Art. In 2004, she was appointed chief curator and curator of Islamic art.

She is a specialist in the arts of the book from sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century Iran. Dr. Farhad has curated numerous exhibitions on the arts of the Islamic world at the Freer and Sackler, including Art of the Persian Courts(1996), Fountains of Light: The Nuhad Es-Said Collection of Metalwork(2000), Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey (2005-6), The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in the Moscow Kremlin (2009), Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009-10), Roads of Arabia: History and Archaeology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012), and The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (2016).

She received her Ph.D. in Islamic Art History from Harvard University in 1987. Her publications include Slaves of the Shah: New Elites in Safavid Iran (2004), Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009), The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts(2016), and A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer (2017).



Dr. Navina Najat Haidar, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

Dr. Navina Najat Haidar presently serves as Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah Curator in Charge of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At the Met, she has curated a number of special exhibitions, including Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700, Opulence and Fantasy (2015); Treasures from India; Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection (2014); and Divine Pleasures: Rajput Painting from the Kronos Collection (2016). She lectures on Islamic and Indian art and also publishes regularly in scholarly journals, as well as in the general press.

Navina has taught as part of a curatorial studies program and supervises Fellows and students, both officially and as an informal mentor. Navina is planning a future exhibition on the Jahangir period and is concurrently working on a book on Mughal architecture. She is also involved in several independent educational, conservation, and creative initiatives in the Middle East and India.



April 6, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
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