Holland Park Road, situated off the bustling High Street Kensington, London is the address of LeightonHouseMuseum, the former studio-house of the Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton (1830-1896). During the first week of March, this museum hosted a week long series of workshops exploring the importance of calligraphy to Islamic faith and culture, led by Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a renowned expert on Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art.
Upon entering the stately house, one is awestruck at the richness of blues, turquoise, white and gold, which adorn the Arab Hall. From the calligraphy running along the walls to the mosaic floor to the dome above with stained glass windows, the deep appreciation for the craftsmanship of Muslim lands transports the onlooker to another time and place altogether.
Bridging cultures, the Museum surely has achieved, when one finds Abu Mustafa in Leighton's art studio on the first floor, where a display of the artists prints surround the ink and paper-laden tables of the workshop.
During the week, school children and adults from a variety of interests and backgrounds have sat with the artist, as he talked them through the significance of writing Arabic - the language God chose in the Qur'an as a sacred art.
Alan hopes to build on the positive experience of this event by planning children's workshops on the art of henna painting, hosting a drama group called the 'Dervishes' and constructing a bedouin tent in the garden area, during Architecture Week with a series of arts and crafts taking place within it, at the end of June.
LeightonHouseMuseum offers visitors a genuine feel of a stately Victorian home with the artists works displayed throughout particularly in the well-maintained library and dining hall. What visitors may not expect is the magic of standing amongst treasures from as far as Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria to name but a few - a welcome time capsule in Holland park.
Part 2 to follow next weekÂ…
For more information on forthcoming events contact
Algeria, Morocco and Egypt are just some of the countries that Frederic Leighton visited on his many travels. Come to our two-day workshops and experience a variety of African music, dance and creativity.
There are only 30 places available for this event, booking is essential. To book a place please contact the education officer at Leighton House Museum on 020 7602 3316 ext. 305.
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