QAIC & Islamic Art



In the past few months, the Qatar America Institute for Culture has committed itself to both supporting and expanding the reach and scope of Islamic Art in the United States through a broad array of engagements, exhibitions, and financial support to various museums and institutions that share the central tenet of QAIC’s mission. Listed below are descriptions of various events and engagements that we have contributed to in 2022.

QAIC & Reed Society Host Islamic Calligraphy Symposium:

The Reed Society for the Sacred Arts and QAIC hosted a series of events centered around QAIC’s newest exhibition “Living Line, Living Legacy. ” The artists featured in the exhibition also took part in the Reed Society calligraphy symposium held at the Qatar America Institute for Culture.

The symposium feature presentations from eminent calligraphers and curators, ending with an open roundtable discussion. Attendees of the symposium and the various workshops were awarded a certificate for continuing education in Islamic Art with a focus on Calligraphy. Notable caligraphers and panelists are featured below.


Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar – Associate Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Islamic Art and author of How To Read Islamic Calligraphy

Davut Bektas – Turkish calligrapher, who has created pieces for iconic buildings in Turkey and for the Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca. He has Ijazah in Thuluth, Naskh, and Rik’a from Hasan Celebi.

Nuria Garcia Masip – Spanish calligrapher and scholar with Ijazah in Thuluth and Naskh from Davut Bektas, Hasan Celebi, and Mohamed Zakariya. She has won prestigious prizes in international calligraphy competitions and her work forms part of various private and museum collections.

Dr. Ashley Dimmig – Wieler-Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Islamic Art at the Walters Art Museum

Nihad Dukhan – Palestinian-American artist of traditional and modern calligraphy and a professor of mechanical engineering. He holds Ijazah in Thuluth and Naskh from Hasan Celebi and in Taliq from Mohamed Zakariya.

Dr. Emin Lelic – Professor of History at Salisbury University and author of Reading Rumi in Sarajevo

Aishah Holland – New York-based freelance lettering artist in Latin and Arabic scripts and received her Ijazah in the Thuluth and Naskh scripts from master calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya.

Deniz Oktem Bektas – Deniz Bektas received Ijazah in Thuluth and Naskh from Hasan Celebi and Davut Bektas. She has had many exhibits internationally and works with her husband Davut Bektas out of their studio in Istanbul.

In addition to the “Living Line, Living Legacy” exhibition and symposium, QAIC also had the opportunity to hold an Expressions art and culture talk with Master calligrapher Mohamad Zakariya – the designer of the first stamp commemorating the Muslim holiday Eid.  Zakariya is an American Master Calligrapher, turner, and metalworker and the first westerner to gain licenses in Islamic calligraphy from Istanbul’s Research Center for Islamic Art, History, and Culture. He also holds Ijazah (degree in calligraphy) in Thuluth and Naskh from Hasan Celebi and in Talik from Ali Alparslan. You can watch his interview below.




QAIC & The Met:

On May 5, QAIC had the opportunity to attend a celebration hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in honor of the 10th anniversary of its galleries of the Department of Islamic Art. QAIC is a proud sponsor of the Met’s Department of Islamic Art and its efforts to preserve and promote the history and heritage of Islamic and Arab art and culture for future generations of art lovers. During the event, QAIC Executive Director Fatima Al-Dosari spoke on the importance of providing visibility to cultures and traditions not widely seen in other parts of the world which QAIC is able to do thanks to the continual support of our sponsors.

Other speakers included Andrea Bayer, Deputy Director for Collections and Administration of the Met, and Dr. Navina Najat Haider, the Met’s Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art and a panelist on one of QAIC’s Museum Series discussions held in 2021. To remind guests of the enchanting evening surrounded by treasured relics and objects spanning millennia, QAIC provided everyone with a custom fragrance designed in honor of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Qatar and the lasting friendship between both nations.




QAIC & The Freer Gallery of Art:

On May 7th, the Qatar America Institute for Culture joined the Freer Gallery of Art for a festive afternoon of music, food, and art to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. During the event, QAIC contributed various elements to make the event memorable. QAIC featured master calligraphers at work, enabled guests to take part in making their own calligraphy-inspired art, and brought a henna artist so that guests could share in the festive tradition. Guests were also able to view the various galleries at the Freer Gallery of Art, most notably the exhibition “Fashioning an Empire: Safavid Textiles” from the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.