British Museum: Beyond The Galleries Walls

Feeling the warm rays of the sun, I knew an outing was on the forecast, but where was the question. Without too much thought, I decided on the British Museum, to visit their newly revamped Islamic Art rooms. In the past, after every visit, I had wondered how long it would take for the museum to introduce the history of the world’s geometric elegance in a more modern setting.

Arriving at the Museum, I straight away asked for directions, not wanting to wander for hours, only to realise I’ve headed the opposite way. To reach the neoteric galleries I took a short trip through room 41 Anglo-Saxon Europe. Walking past treasured artefacts; Celtic gold, Viking jewels and Byzanite silverware. I stepped out of what was known as the dark ages into the world of illumination.

Upon entering the first room I notably took in the attention to detail, geometrical layout and elegant colour scheme. Arranged neatly along the walls and within the glass, cases were compilations of Islam’s historical artefacts. Displayed sequentially and assigned to themes. In the form of lustrous patterns, I was guided through past periods and regions as I walked from one cabinet to the next. Ensembles of architecture and decorations shimmered under streams of light. Reflecting on the various styles of art between different cultures. 

Arabesque designs flowed evenly throughout the gallery. Their mathematical intricacies were not unseen. I gazed at some ornaments for several seconds, trying to follow the start and end of each complex connection. Displayed on black columns were arrays of tiles in the shape of stars; beautifully interlaced with plant stems and buds.

The second room, in contrast, presented modern-day Islamic art. I entered through the door of room 43a. From where I was standing I couldn’t help but notice the wall at the far end. Which had been fully dedicated to the work of Idris Khan ‘21 stones’. Wending past all the different genres and style; from fashion to music, calligraphy to painting I slowly made my way to the end of the gallery to closely see or even read ‘21 stones’.

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