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Islamic Geometric Patterns Conference Overview

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On Saturday 3rd May, the BMHC hosted a full day conference and workshops on Islamic Geometric Patterns; Art and Architecture. The event was presented by an experienced team of reputable and international speakers Eric Broug, Huseyin Sen and Mesut Balik from the Netherlands and Hasret Brown from Birmingham UK.

The objective of the event was to provide students with an introduction and understanding of Islamic geometric patterns, and the creative nature of its incredibly sophisticated and fascinating art form.  As well as the historical developments through which it has developed and some examples of its use in the field of contemporary art in the modern era.

The event was devised into four sessions throughout the day to enable students to learn at a steady and structured pace.

The first session was presented by Huseyin Sen and Mesut Balik who delivered a workshop on the historical and methodological development of Escher’s art. In this session, they gave students the opportunity to interact and participate in the construction of some Escher like drawings using specific techniques and methodology. The feedback we received from our attendees around this session was remarkable. According to the comments left by the participants, it was a thoroughly enjoyable session as it was ‘very interactive’ and enabled them to ‘work at different levels according to their ability’. Huseyin and Mesut managed to effectively engage the students and help them understand the art and concept of Islamic Geometric Patterns and therefore the students found this to be a very ‘informative and interesting introduction’.

The second session included another workshop presented by Eric Broug. His workshop was designed to build on from the first activity, and provided an interactive exercise session where the students were taught how to draw other simple geometric patterns, and apply their own individual creativity with the use of colour. Once again, the feedback from the participants was fantastic. There were a number of positive comments left for this session, in particular, a vast amount of students wrote that it was ‘a great workshop, it was clear, concise and supportive’. Most students also commented that this session was a great contribution to their learning, as he had successfully managed to get the students to expand their learning and apply their own creativity through detailed and interactive teaching.

The third session was commenced after lunch and continued by Eric Broug. During this session Eric delivered a lecture and presentation designed to give students a visual tour of the masterpieces of geometric designs in Islamic art and architecture. The feedback for this session acknowledged and praised how ‘detailed, informative and interesting’ this lecture was.  Students felt that they had received a great deal of knowledge and information about the characteristics of the excellence of geometric design, and its contemporary and historical relevance. One student said ‘I particularly enjoyed seeing the modern applicants of design – and to get a better overview of the subject than I had before was really useful’.

The final session was conducted by Hasret Brown, who delivered another practical workshop. During Hasret’s session students were taught how to develop unique and practical skills in constructing and re-creating a pattern by the use of a traditional compass and ruler. She inspired students to apply individual creativity to their designs through the application of colour and then explored methods to tessellate the patterns to a larger scale. By the end of the session, the students had all individually created some fantastic geometric designs from the same pattern, which was all bought together and tessellated on to a canvas to create a larger piece of wonderful Islamic art.  The participants found this session highly ‘inspirational, creative and fun’. Most students were left in awe by her work as a professional artist and found her paintings to be ‘very inspirational because, in such a short period of time, Hasret has gained tremendous skill’ as a credible artist. 

It was amazing to see what can be done within a couple of hours as a team’.

Overall, there was a large number of positive feedback left by students on the interactive and informative deliverance of the workshops. A number of students have said that they would attend this event again, commenting that it was well structured and enabled them to enjoy their learning experience.

This event has been a tremendous success and one which the BMHC wants to repeat again, as such, we will be planning to organise similar events in the near future.

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This post is also available in: Arabic