SAVANNAH, Ga. – Telfair Museums, one of the South’s premier art museums, is pleased to present “Allure of the Near East: Treasures From the Huntington Museum of Art’s Touma Collection” August 16, 2013 through January 5, 2014 at the Jepson Center, located at 207 W. York St. on Telfair Square in downtown Savannah.
“Allure of the Near East” will feature more than 70 objects from a broad geographical area including the Middle East, Turkey, Indian sub-continent, North Africa and Europe and spanning 20 centuries.
“We’re delighted to share this fascinating exhibition with a Savannah audience,” says Telfair director and CEO Lisa Grove. “’Allure of the Near East’ offers exquisite examples of art from across the Near East.”
Highlights include metalwork, glass, ceramics, arms and armor, scientific instruments, textiles, furniture, books and manuscripts. These items represent Pre-Roman, Roman, Greek, Islamic, Christian and Jewish civilizations.
Highlights include a bust of the goddess Isis from Egypt in the Roman period 10 B.C.-40 A.D. as well as icons from the 18th and 19th centuries. Sacred religious objects include Qur’ans made in Iran and Kashmir as well as a 19th-century Egyptian Bible. “Allure of the Near East” also includes many items decorated with beautiful designs, from early glass forms to intricately-designed firearms and ceramics with both abstract and representational patterns.
“These highlights from the Touma Collection provide a rare opportunity to see treasures from the Near East in Savannah,” says Tania Sammons, Telfair senior curator of decorative arts and historic sites. “We encourage local residents and visitors to see these treasures in person.”
This fascinating collection came to the West Virginia museum via Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma. Between 1991 and 2004, the Toumas donated more than 400 objects to the Huntington Museum of Art. Originally from Syria, the couple hoped their donation would provide a bridge for people to learn about and appreciate the mostly unfamiliar histories, cultures and traditions of their homeland, and promote goodwill and peace in a time of upheaval.
“Allure of the Near East” visits Telfair Museums as part of a creative exchange. While the Touma Collection is on view at the Jepson Center, the Telfair’s Kahlil Gibran collection will be displayed at the Huntington Museum of Art. This exchange allows both museums to diversify their exhibition offerings, while simultaneously providing broader national exposure.
Turku, Near Eastern Music Workshop
August 17, 2013 | 11 am | Jepson Center
In this demonstration and workshop, visitors of all ages can learn about the music and instruments of the near east with members of the band Turku. Reservations required, call 790.8821.
Near East Family Day
August 17, 2013 | 1-4 pm | Jepson Center
Middle Eastern music, hands-on children’s activities and more. Free and open to the public. Project funding from the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs, Georgia Power and the AGL Resources Foundation.
Lecture by Walter B. Denny
October 10, 2013 | 6 pm | Jepson Center
Walter B. Denny, a renowned scholar on the art of the Islamic world, will speak on works in the Touma Collection of Near Eastern Art. Dr. Denny is a Professor of Art History and Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also a Senior Consultant in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The lecture is free to members or with museum admission. Sponsored by the Telfair Academy Guild.
ABOUT TELFAIR MUSEUMS:
Founded in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum includes two National Historic Landmark Buildings—the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House—and the contemporary Jepson Center. With three unique buildings housing three distinct collections, Telfair Museums bridges three centuries of art and architecture.
Admission is $20, which includes one-time entry to Telfair Academy, Jepson Center and the Owens-Thomas House on any day the sites are open. Group tours are available for groups of 10 or more.
Jepson Center hours: Sunday & Monday 12–5 pm; Tuesday & Wednesday 10 am–5 pm; Thursday; 10 am–8 pm; Friday & Saturday; 10 am–5 pm
Telfair Academy hours: Sunday 1–5 pm; Monday 12–5 pm; Tuesday–Saturday; 10 am–5 pm
Owens-Thomas House hours: Sunday 1–5 pm; Monday 12–5 pm; Tuesday–Saturday; 10 am–5 pm (guided tours only – last tour leaves at 4:30 pm)
For more information, call 912.790.8802 or visit www.telfair.org.
Jepson Center – 207 W. York Street, on Telfair Square
Telfair Academy – 121 Barnard Street, on Telfair Square
Owens-Thomas House – 124 Abercorn Street, on Oglethorpe Square