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Peabody Museum Press Publishes New Book: Sacred Spaces: A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus
Mixed media by Samina Quraeshi.
CAMBRIDGE, MA.- Imaginative, vibrant, and saturated with the rich colors of South Asia, Samina Quraeshi’s photographs, calligraphic works, and montages reflect the diversity of Islamic expressions of faith. Her work is a creative response to the experience of pilgrimage to the Sufi shrines in the Indus Valley. The images evoke the music, dance, and acts of faith that animate these sacred spaces.

Raised in Pakistan and India, Samina Quraeshi is the first Robert Gardner Visiting Artist at the Peabody Museum. Quraeshi says, “Sufi mysticism complicates the all-too-common view that Islam is monolithic—unable or unwilling to recognize the internal plurality of devotion and interpretation among its faithful.” Her images bring to life a landscape and a culture that reverberate with the Sufi traditions of mystical Islam.

Through vivid storytelling illustrated with over 250 color images, Quraeshi adds her voice to the long tradition of mystical Islam and illuminates the ways in which sacred spaces act as profound expressions of both faith and culture. Her journey, infused with childhood memories and ancient legends, explores the localized traditions of Sufi practices in the Indus Valley region. Essays by scholars Ali S. Asani and Carl W. Ernst and by Pakistani architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz supplement Quraeshi’s personal journey with discussions of the musical, political, and architectural dimensions of Sufism in South Asia.

Sacred Spaces: A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus will be published in October 2009 by the Peabody Museum Press and Mapin Publishing. The book will be available for purchase at the Opening Reception and at the Museum.

Related exhibition: Sacred Spaces: Reflections on a Sufi Path
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents a new exhibition opening on October 22, 2009: Sacred Spaces: Reflections on a Sufi Path by Samina Quraeshi. The exhibition includes photographs, calligraphy, and mixed media compositions. It opens Thursday October 22, 2009, at 5:30 PM with brief talks by Ms. Quraeshi and by Thomas W. Lentz, Director of the Harvard Art Museums and William L. Fash, Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Their remarks will be followed by a performance of Sufi music and by an Opening Reception and Book Signing in the Peabody’s Museum. Sacred Spaces: Reflections on a Sufi Path at Harvard’s Peabody Museum will be on view through April 30, 2010.

Companion Exhibition: Sacred Spaces: The World of Dervishes, Fakirs, and Sufis at Harvard’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum is on view through January 3, 2010.
Samina Quraeshi is an educator, designer, artist, photographer, and author. Formerly Henry R. Luce Professor in Family and Community at the University of Miami and Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts, she is currently the Gardner Visiting Artist at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Ms. Quraeshi has exhibited her artwork internationally and is the author of Legacy of the Indus: A Discovery of Pakistan, Lahore: The City Within, and Legends of the Indus.

Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University, Ali S. Asani has written, “Samina Quraeshi offers us a unique account of a journey through her childhood homeland in search of the wisdom of the Sufis. Along this meandering path she has created an imaginative personal history and a rich body of photographs and works of art, all of which reflect the seeking heart of the Sufi way.”

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