Calligraphy, illumination, bookbinding: Three art forms that have grown historically, passed down over generations, and that have one main characteristic in common: the preservation of tradition. The three-part documentary series „Living Traditions: Islamic Art in Contemporary Turkey“ provides precious insights into age-old traditions and allows renowned contemporary artists from Turkey to share their stories. 

The AIWG project workshop „Beauty and Islamic Theology“ under the direction of Dr Bilal Badat (University of Tübingen) will publish the three-part documentary series „Living Traditions: Islamic Art in Contemporary Turkey“. The films will be released in Turkish with English subtitles.

“The films explore the inextricable links between religion and art, and how each craft is a product of, and opens a window into Islamic theology, culture, and history.”
Dr Bilal Badat

This documentary series explores the lives, work, and reflections of three exceptional craftsmen and women based in Istanbul, Turkey: a calligrapher, an illuminator, and a bookbinder. Operating at the pinnacle of their respective professions, their journey through Islamic art and craft shines a light on the value of traditional art, and the ethics and aesthetic principles that support it.

The launch date of the documentary series „Living Traditions“ is the 26th of September 2021.

Visiting the master calligrapher

The first episode takes viewers into the studio of calligrapher Efdaludin Kılıç. This first episode reveals the depth of knowledge and skill behind the processes of Islamic calligraphy, the most highly regarded and revered element of Islamic art. Master calligrapher Efdaludin Kılıç guides us through the historical development and offers rare insights into the complex techniques and rich traditions behind each creation. For Kılıç, calligraphy is more than ‚just‘ an art form. It takes on its unique meaning through its endeavour to preserve and protect Islamic scriptures, the Qur’an in particular, and to make them accessible to all people.

“Calligraphy has been used to preserve divine texts, philosophy or metaphysics and to make their teachings permanent in the world of words.”
Efdaludin Kılıç

The documentaries on the art of illumination and bookbinding will be published on YouTube in November and January.

Dates and Topics

The exact release dates for the episodes of the three-part documentary series „Living Traditions“ are:

  • 26 September 2021, 7 p.m.
  • 28 November 2021, 7 p.m.
  • 17 January 2021, 7 p.m.

Click here to visit the Project Workshop’s YouTube channel.

About the AIWG Project Workshop

The documentary series „Living Traditions“ and the multi-part interview series „Conversations about Beauty and Islamic Theology“ are the final outputs of the one-year AIWG project workshop „Beauty and Islamic Theology“, a joint research project of the Centre for Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen and the Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. More on the interview series „Conversations about Beauty and Islamic Theology“.

More on the project workshop can be found here.