What is Middle Eastern culture? Maybe you think of the Golden Age of Islamic civilization, or of hummus and falafel, but, in fact, there is a great diversity of the cultural production of the Middle East today. Of course, there still practitioners of the classical arts like calligraphy, ebru – Turkish paper marbling, miniature painting, Quranic recitation and singing of both Sufi and folk songs, shadow puppetry, tentmaking, zilij tilework, folk dance, and many more. Many of these arts have experienced revivals under the patronage of the various states in order to maintain them as living traditions.
At the same time, artists in and from the Middle East, whether they work in music, the visual arts, film, dance, or other media, also produce works using the international vocabulary of contemporary art. Some may fuse elements of the traditional with these contemporary works while others express themselves wholly within a modern context. Classical or contemporary, there is much to learn and appreciate from cultural practices and traditions. Here we feature some works and artists, and provide links to others.