Islamic art in medieval north and west Africa

Course Dates: 01/10/19 - 29/10/19
Time: 13:00 - 15:10
Location: KS - Keeley Street

This course examines the unique flavour of Islamic visual culture as it spread across north Africa and into the Sahel, meeting the great empires of medieval west Africa. The course will include one off-site visit to the Africa galleries at the British Museum.


What is the course about?

The first expansion of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula was westwards, into Egypt, North Africa (Ifriquyya) and Morocco (Maghreb). By the later medieval period the influence of Islam spread southwards into West Africa and the Sahel, connecting with the great empires of Mali and Ghana.

In absorbing the varied and distinctive influences encountered, the architecture and visual culture of Islam in Africa assumed a unique flavour, which will be the subject of this course. We will look at the aesthetics and form of architecture and the Qu’ran, and other related decorative arts, including textiles and metalwork. There will be an additional offsite session, visiting the Africa galleries at the British Museum.

What will we cover?

• The spread of Islam in North and West Africa
• The development of Islamic Architecture in North and West Africa.
• The aesthetics of early Qu’rans in the regions.
• Decorative arts and cultural artefacts in the regions.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Describe some the main features of Islamic Art in North and West Africa.
• Recognize key architectural landmarks and styles and how they evolved.
• Identify some of the main arts and crafts that fed into Islamic visual heritage in Africa.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with short lectures, slides, and group discussions. One session will be held off-site in the British Museum.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You may wish to bring a notebook. Please note we are unable to guarantee stools in the galleries that we will visit so you may have to stand and to walk between paintings. All gallery visits will be free.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
• VB257 - Islamic Art in the medieval world
• VB429 - Asian art: cultural synergies in the Indian subcontinent
• VB438 - Arts of the empire-builders: Timurids, Safavids and Mughals
• VB601 - Think like an artist: in early Moghul India.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 1 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

If you are interested in the subject and want to know more, this course will hugely benefit you.
Course Rating
Review by Anthony Smith / (Posted on 18/06/2019)
Tutor Biographies
Anita Chowdry

Anita Chowdry is a London based visual artist, educator and researcher. Her particular interest is in the arts of the Islamic World and South Asia, and the materials and processes that went into them. She has an M.A. in Art and Science from Central Saint Martin’s UAL, and is currently engaged in the codicological study of a group of 15th Century Turcoman manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Anita has over 30 years’ experience teaching art and process to adults and professional groups, covering major institutions in the UK and abroad.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VB700

Tue, day, 01 Oct - 29 Oct '19

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £103.00
Concession: £79.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.