Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

LA exhibition showcases Islamic art throughout the city

by Take Two®

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Selection from "Untitled," (2007-2014), featured in the exhibit, "Shangri La: Imagined Cities," presented by the LA Islam Arts Initiative. George Awde

News reports and conversations about the Middle East often center around conflict.

However a LA-wide exhibition focuses on the creativity of the region and the intersection of Islam and the arts.

Amitis Motevalli is the mastermind behind the LA Islam Arts Initiative, produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs.

"Islamic art can be thought about in many different ways," she says. "They are a very diverse group of people."

There is a wide geography where Islamic people mostly live, she says, from South Asia to the Middle East.

But it also includes people who've been drawn together through Quranic faiths.

"We thought it was really important to bring that issue to the foreground," she says.

One exhibition called, "Return of the Mecca," showcases art made in the U.S. by Americans. It also explores Islam's important role in the early days of hip-hop with artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube and Lupe Fiasco, all of whom identify as Muslim.

Another entitled, "In Search of the Dot that Created the Circle," investigates how important geometry is to Islamic art.

"There are cultural practitioners in what is considered the Islamic world today making amazing, creative and engaging works to really advance thought," says Motevalli.

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