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Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Illustrated Lecture: Shangri La's Damascus Room

The Biography of a Syrian Interior: Shangri La's Damascus Room
An illustrated lecture by Dr. Keelan Overton, Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La

July 12, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
University of Hawai'i at Manoa Art Auditorium
2535 McCarthy Mall Admission is FREE  


In the early 1950s, Doris Duke (d. 1993) acquired an 18th century Damascene interior for her private Honolulu residence known as Shangri La. This talk traces the history of Duke's lifelong interest in Syria and its domestic interiors from 1938 until the early 1980s. Devoting attention to Duke's travels in the country in 1938 and 1952-53, it examines the circumstances surrounding the Damascus Room's acquisition, contextualizes it in relation to in situ examples, and considers how Duke's interest in Syrian interiors resonated with broader trends in the history of collecting, display, and cultural heritage preservation.

The newly restored and opened Damascus Room will be included in Shangri La public tours from July 11 and on.       Shangri La: A Center for Islamic Arts & Cultures


Georges Asfar in the retrofitted Damascus Room prior
to its shipment to Honolulu, dated August 1, 1954
(Shangri La Historical Archives, Doris Duke
Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai'i)


Keelan Overton is the Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La. She holds a PhD in Islamic art history from the University of California, Los Angeles (2011) and an MA from Williams College (2004). Her research interests include the art and architecture of early modern Islamic courts, revivalist trends during the 19th and 20th centuries, and the history of collecting. She recently published an article on 1930s Shangri La ("From Pahlavi Isfahan to Pacific Shangri La: Reviving, Restoring, and Reinventing Safavid Aesthetics, c. 1920-40," West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, University of Chicago Press.)

   






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