Outside Iran, the Museum continues to collect works by artists from across the Middle East. Since Word into Art, the CaMMEA acquisition group and other private donations have also allowed the Museum to continue to expand our collection of Arab, Turkish and Central Asian art. Over the last two years, we have acquired works by Ahmed Moustafa, Huda Lutfi (Egypt); Marwan Kassab Bachi and Monif Ajjaj (Syria); Jean-Marc Nahas, Mounira Al-Solh (Lebanon) and Kholoud Sharafi (UAE), to name a few. We also have acquired a number of works by Palestinian artists, such as Steve Sabella and Suleiman Mansour, alongside 35 Years of Occupation, a collection of 35 prints by a collective of Palestinian and Israeli artists. Recent acquisitions also include drawings by Hajra Waheed and Imran Mudassar, two artists of South Asian origin, as well as a series of photographs by American-born John Jurayj (a first-generation Lebanese artist based in New York) and a set of paper sculptures by Michael Rakowitz (an American artist of Iraqi origin).
In the same timeframe, over a dozen artworks have been donated to the collection by donors, collectors and artists, and these include an important selection of works by the well known Turkish Modernist, Burhan Dogancay, a large painting by Mehrdad Shoghi (Iran), a photographic triptych by Lalla Essaydi (Morocco), two photographs by Rula Halawani and Yazan Khalili (Palestine), a sculpture by Mona Saudi (Jordan) and works on paper by Fathi Hassan (Sudan/Egypt), Adel Siwi (Egypt) and Sabhan Adam (Syria).
This kind of collecting is of critical importance to the Museum as we seek to ensure that the collections continue to reflect world cultures both ancient and modern. It is extremely important to place the Museum’s Middle Eastern collections in context and to show the influences of historical traditions on the emerging artistic trends of today. The Museum is in a unique position to place contemporary Middle Eastern art in the broader context of ancient and modern global culture, and is an invaluable resource for students seeking first-hand study of artworks as part of their research
“The reach of a global institution such as the British Museum will be a useful tool in ensuring that their collection will include a broad cross section of Middle Eastern artists, who are today poised to conquer previously unchartered territory" Maryam Eisler said. "My hope is that through our joint efforts great Iranian contemporary art will become readily accessible to a wider Western audience.”