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Spectacular display of Islamic art is unveiled at Craven Museum & Gallery

Craven Museum & Gallery has opened a stunning new exhibition - showing work from some of the top contemporary Islamic artists working in the UK.

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The world-class Faith In Art exhibition, run in collaboration with the Muslim Museum Initiative, opened on February 5, 2016, and runs until March 28.

Scores of visitors packed into the gallery for the preview event on February 4, with many of the artists present to discuss their work.

Curated by Mobeen Butt, founder of the Muslim Museum Initiative, the exhibition brings together 10 exceptional artists, to celebrate the variety and vibrancy of Islamic art being produced in Britain.

The exhibition showcases calligraphy, geometry, arabesque, illumination, miniature painting, wood crafting, paper-cutting, embroidery, fabric printing and three dimensional works.

Opening the exhibition, Craven District Council chief executive Paul Shevlin said: "It's a great pleasure to open this exhibition, which is the result of a great deal of collaboration with artists, community groups, schools and the Muslim Museum Initiative.

"The exhibition is part of our Museum: Indispensable project, funded by the Arts Council. The project focuses on creating a more public serving and inclusive museum, which is sustainable and at the heart of the community. We would like to thank the Arts Council for their generous funding.

"It is a privilege to show such a diverse and inventive collection of art, in this corner of the Yorkshire Dales."

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He also thanked Mobeen Butt, from the Muslim Museum Initiative, Nicola Morris, from Craven District Council, who led the project, the artists that contributed to the exhibition, and the Craven public for getting involved with workshops and courses, including Ings Community Primary & Nursery School whose children worked with artist Samir Malik on a Peace Mural that will be displayed in the Peace garden at Stepping Stones community garden.

Mobeen Butt, founder of the Muslim Museum Initiative, said: "It is a testimony to Craven's outward looking staff that this project was conceived.

"It was great to see such diversity in the gallery; a range of ages, ethnicities and faiths were represented and that is just brilliant!

"Art has the power to transcend, it can bring worlds together, evoke emotions, pierce through politics, tell stories, and take people to distant times and far off places. The Faith in Art Exhibition aims to do all the above and more.

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"This is a rare opportunity to see such a spectacular array of contemporary Islamic art exhibited outside of London, Dubai, Qatar or Malaysia.

"Muslims in Britain are producing exceptional art; art with real soul, depth and meaning; art that mesmerises; and art that is increasingly being collected around the world.

"Synonymous with Islam, and, I believe, the religion's real strength, this exhibition will show that there can be 'unity within diversity' and 'diversity within unity'. If you want to see the real soul of Islam, look at its arts.

"It is great to see Craven Museum & Gallery spearheading this type of work; I hope others will follow their lead."

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Craven Museum & Gallery is part of Skipton Town Hall, and is open every day except Tuesdays and Sundays 10am - 4pm; admission is free. For more information visit cravenmuseum.org or contact the museum on 01756 706407.