Sufi Muslim exhibition launched in US

Sufi Muslim exhibition launched in US

WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
Sufi Muslim exhibition launched in US

AA Photo

A vast collection of antique objects used in Sufi Muslim dervish convents has been launched as an exhibit at the Turkish American Cultural Center in the state of Maryland, near Washington D.C.

The “Dervishes and Their Belongings” exhibition, which runs until Oct.21, will feature 300 historical artifacts used in the daily life of dervish convents. 

Dervishes follow an ancient Sufi Muslim tradition, which dates back to the 13th century and has roots in Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s teachings. Today’s Sufism is highly influenced by Turkish customs and culture.

Hosted by the non-profit the New East Foundation (NEF), the exhibition introduces 100-year-old calligraphy artwork, talismans, wands and traditional musical instruments in a room designed as a dervish lodge.

“There is a center, a modernized version of where invocation and circulation is made. You go around [the center] after you see the dervishes’ belongings and end up at the contemporary part of the exhibition, which is designed to show the continuation [of life],” the president of the NEF, Atılgan Bayar, said. 

Seven contemporary works of art by Turkish painter Fatma Zeynep Çilek are also part of the exhibition.

Çelik said her contemporary art pieces were inspired by “convent drawing models,” and aimed to bridge the modern with the mystical world of dervishes.

“I’m inspired by the letters written on dervish belongings and try to reflect the deep meanings of these letters to my painting in an abstract way,” Çelik said. “The Arabic letters and Ottoman motifs are very aesthetic and have deep philosophical meanings.”

Alongside several American artists, Turkish diplomats, businessmen and several other art lovers attended the launch of the exhibition on Sept. 20.