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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Khaled Ben Slimane, ceramic plates (tabaq)


Khaled Ben Slimane, ceramic pl


Diameter: 20.000 cm

AOA 1998.Af2.12-15


'The objects remind me of my faith (Islam) having Arabic writing, beautifully painted in an artful way, showing that religion, art and the human mind can all work as one. I would be interested to see other works by Mr Slimane, to get more sense and understanding of Islam from an artist's point of view.' Mohummed Majarally, of African-Mauritian origin

Khaled Ben Slimane is from the region of Nabeul, known for its established tradition of pottery-making. In the 1970s, after travelling in Asia and Iran, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Tunis. Here, his interest in ceramics quickly turned into a life-long passion; he subsequently also studied in Spain and Japan.

These diverse experiences significantly influence the aesthetic of Slimane's work and his philosophical approach. He is a strong believer in the power of heritage and tradition and considers his work to belong firmly within the context of the 'Islamic' pottery of the Middle East and North Africa. He sees it as his role to inject new life into the ceramic traditions from Iran to North Africa that started to stagnate and die in the nineteenth century because of the breakdown of traditional workshops.

Slimane's works are based on four primary colours - symbolizing the elements of earth, fire, air and water - with rough, bold, black brushstrokes formed into delicate spirals. Ceramics are characterized by repeated words, and phrases such as Allah (God), er-Rouh ('the soul'), Huwa ('Him which evokes God') form a kind of rhythmic ideogram. As well as artworks in the form of functional domestic objects (saucers, cups, bowls), Slimane's works include pieces inspired by Islamic funerary architecture and also public sculptures and installations.

On display: Room 34: The Islamic world