This paper is part of an on-going investigation of contemporary museum practice and the representation of culture, identity, and belonging in a display of Islamic artefacts (“The Arts of Islam” Exhibition, Nasser Khalili Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, 2007). The exhibition attracted over 75,000 visitors and was trans-national with its inclusion of works from Spain, Turkey, North Africa, India, Syria, Iran and China spanning the 7th- 20th centuries. This paper includes a comprehensive description of the case study in question and surrounding socio-cultural issues, concentrating on the role of discourse generally, and media coverage in particular. Complex networks of relationships are pivotal to understanding the dynamics of social formations as rhetoric and “images circulate increasingly fast and with added reach so as to form and reform various imagined communities” (Urry, 1995: 19). The reporting of racial conflicts and the promotion of local and global constructions of Islamic identity and Muslim communities have enormous impact and influence on the public understanding of Islamic heterogeneity. The paper also suggests issues and implications for further exploration, both empirically and theoretically, that would continue to identify the degree to which the selection and discourse regarding artworks on display are influenced by global and local political situations and are indicative of geopolitical contexts and shifting community values.
|Keywords:||Rhetoric and Media, Islamic Identity and Heterogeneity, Local and Global, Socio-Cultural Issues, Community Values|
Doctoral Candidate, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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