12th International Festival of Illumination & Miniature opens in Tlemcen, Iran in attendance

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ALGIERS- The 12th edition of the International Festival of Miniatures and Illuminations opened, on Saturday evening, at the Center for Andalusian Studies in Tlemcen.

Placed under the slogan “Golden bridges”, this edition, which will run until November 24, brings together under one roof 80 artists, including 10 from Iran, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Sultanate of Oman, Turkey, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. They present a hundred works, between miniature and illumination. Among the Algerian artists are 20 students from fine arts schools in Algeria.

The artistic works are exhibited before a large audience who have come to discover the latest creations of this art. According to the participants, the miniatures aroused a great interest among the visitors.

In this vein, Iran is presented, in this event, by the well known artist Mohsen Aghamiri, while Afghanistan is presented by the Artist Younes Jami. Noting that Mohsen Aghamiri is a professor at the University of the Arts in Tehran and has won many awards for his work, including numerous solo and group exhibitions in which he has participated.

Oman is represented by Bouchra Alzaimia, Uzbekistan by Jahongir Ashurov, and Pakistan by Yed Abdul Irfan. Algeria is represented by a bunch of pioneer artists, including Bouguera Touba Amina, Boutouba Farès, Houda Malik and Zineb Bahiri, who are highlighting parts of the Algerian cultural heritage, such as; old houses, wedding ceremonies, life in the oases, and traditional outfits.

The Governor of Tlemcen, Amoumene Mermouri, who was accompanied by the president of the People’s Assembly of the wilaya of Tlemcen, a representative of the Minister of Culture and Arts and the commissioner of the festival, toured several stands decorated with paintings of high aesthetic value representing different artistic schools.

In his speech, the Wali of Tlemcen underlined that “these golden bridges are meant to be a bridge between the countries united by the Islamic arts which, beyond forms and images, meet in a single philosophy and complement each other in the same thought that transcends borders and geographical situations”. And to add: “It is not insignificant that this festival has taken up residence in Tlemcen. This city is a living symbol of Muslim art and civilization, as evidenced by all the historical remains that trace the greatness of the different dynasties that succeeded one another there, and which bequeathed to it a prestigious and immeasurable artistic, cultural and architectural heritage”.

He further noted that “this festival, which brings together under one roof artists specializing in Islamic art among the best known throughout the world, is an opportunity to pay tribute to the Algerian visual artist Bachir Yellès, who passed away last August, in recognition of his long career in service of art, culture and heritage in Algeria”, specified the wali of Tlemcen”.

The representative of the Minister of Culture and the Arts, Samir Thaâlbi, for his part, recalled, in this regard, that “the Algerian school of miniature and illumination has taken great strides since the advent of its pioneer Mohamed Racim, whose influence has revealed other great names, such as, Mohamed Temmam, Mohamed Ghanem, Ali Khodja, to whom he transmitted his know-how”. “This cultural rendez-vous will be an opportunity for an enriching exchange of experiences and techniques, as it will build bridges of friendship and brotherhood between peoples,” he pointed out.

“This international artistic event “is part of the series of cultural festivals organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts this year”, he indicated, specifying that “by the end of December, about fifty festivals will have been organized in more than 38 wilayas,” he explained.

For her part, the commissioner of the festival, Samia Kadrine, specified that “this event aims to highlight the characteristics of the Algerian School of Islamic art and encourage artists to embark on this specialty”, adding that this edition will be marked by training sessions which will be organized, for the first time, for the benefit of the students of the School of Fine Arts of Annaba, the annex of the School of Fine Arts of Azazga ( Tizi Ouzou) and the Faculty of Islamic Arts of Tlemcen, with supervision provided by professors of Islamic art from Algeria, Turkey, Iran and others.

The opening ceremony was marked by the screening of a video on the life and career of Bachir Yellès (1921-2022). After the inauguration of the festival, a tribute was paid to one of the luminaries of Algerian plastic arts, Bachir Yellès in this case, who passed away last August. A short documentary retracing his artistic life and highlighting his greatest works as well as his considerable contribution to Algerian art through his works and his achievements was screened. On this occasion, gifts and certificates of recognition were given to the family of the deceased.

This edition aims to highlight the greatest schools of Islamic art in the Muslim world, including the Algerian school, as well as the experiences of Algerian artists in this field. On the occasion of the International Day of Islamic Art celebrated on November 18, a conference on “Schools of Islamic Art” was organized with the participation of professors and academicians from Algeria and participating countries.

This meeting focused on Ottoman illumination at the end of the 16th century, the Algerian school of miniature through the two brothers Mohammed and Omar Racim, the development of miniature schools in the Muslim world, in addition to the development of illumination. The festival will wrap up with the announcement of the results of the International Miniature and Illumination Competition launched last September.

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