JEDDAH: Experts, historians, architects and students alike are set to view the historical evolution, meanings and functions of mosques at an international conference held at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture — Ithra.
From Nov. 23-25, the three-day conference, a collaboration between Ithra and the Abdullatif Al-Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture, will showcase the beauty behind mosque designs and their function throughout history, alongside an exhibit of some of the most renowned mosques in the world.
Guests on the opening night will be welcomed by opening remarks from four keynote speakers, including Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees of the Abdullatif Al-Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture; Khaled Al-Anani, Egyptian minister of tourism and antiquities; Abdullah Al-Rashid, director of Ithra; and Mashary Al-Naim, secretary-general of AFAMA.
“The conference serves as an engaging learning platform focused on the preservation of Islamic art through time. The conference facilitates knowledge sharing to advance learning about the history, art and architecture of Islamic cultures — and specifically Islamic spaces of worship — within the Kingdom and beyond,” Farah Abushullaih, Ithra’s head of museums and exhibits, told Arab News.
“While the conference’s primary target may be students, researchers, historians, architects, artists and other individuals seeking to obtain a deeper understanding into the vast history of Islamic art and cultural preservation, its outcomes will expand this audience to the wider public as it will produce important content for future generations in search of knowledge about these topics,” she added.
Shatr Almasjid: The Art of Orientation, an adjoining exhibit on the sidelines of the event, takes guests into a journey where they can view the historical meaning, evolution and function of mosques while examining the meanings and contexts behind the structures, their interiors and their artifacts, looking at how they served not only as places of worship, but also as community spaces with diverse functions.
“The exhibition offers heightened knowledge about, understanding of, and appreciation for mosques and the objects and artwork they contain, providing insight into the mosque and its social, religious and artistic history,” Abushullaih said.
The events will feature more than 25 international, local and regional experts. Mashary Al-Naim, secretary-general of AFAMA, said: “The jointly organized conference between Al-Fozan and Ithra comes within the framework of the Award’s objectives in developing mosque architecture. The Award possesses an international database for mosque architecture data, as well as a global professional network for all architects, researchers and professionals working in mosque architecture.”