Modern And Ancient Afghan Art And Design In Ferozkoh

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 54 months ago
Modern And Ancient Afghan Art And Design In Ferozkoh
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture
Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture
Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture
Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture
Credit © Paul Bence
Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuaty in Afghan Art at Leighton House Museum as part of The Nour Festival of Art and Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture Credit © Paul Bence

Nestled away in Kensington is Leighton House Museum, the house of noted Victorian artist Frederic Leighton and awash with Asian and Middle Eastern trappings that he acquired on his travels.

This makes it the ideal location for a display of both classical and contemporary Islamic art, fresh from being exhibited in Qatar. There are statues and wall hangings scattered throughout the house that blend in with their surroundings plus a room filled with a comparative exhibition where each contemporary artwork sits alongside a classical one.

The objects on display are diverse, ranging from a remarkably well preserved 17th century red sandstone jali (a section of wall designed to ventilate and allow light into a house) to a contemporary carved medallion that wouldn't have looked amiss 200 years ago.

The comparisons are rarely like for like, with a door knocker serving as inspiration for a bracelet and an ornate porcelain dish re-interpreted as a watercolour painting. The highlight of the exhibition is a 17th century Qu'ran from Iran inlaid with gold – its detail and precision is breathtaking.

The historic items on display and their comparison with modern counterparts is well curated. The only downside is that the modern artworks seem too indebted to ancient artefacts and feel more like an homage than a modern re-interpretation of a classical theme.

This criticism aside, this small exhibition features some exquisite items. Coupled together with the opportunity to visit one of London's hidden museums makes for a fascinating show.

Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuity in Afghan Art is on at Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ until 23 February. Tickets are £5 and include entrance to both the museum and the exhibition.

Last Updated 23 November 2013