Libmonster ID: KZ-2267

Key words: Marjani Foundation, Rustam Suleymanov, Islamic art, scientific and publishing activities

In the spring of 2013, an exhibition entitled "Classical Art of the Islamic World of the IX - XIX Centuries" was held in the Personal Collections Department of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (GMII) in Moscow. Ninety-nine names of the Most High." Most of the exhibits were provided by the Marjani Foundation. We offer an interview of the President of the Foundation Rustam Suleymanov to the correspondent of our magazine K. V. Meshcherina.

How was the idea of establishing the Foundation born? Why is it named after the Tatar theologian and historian Marjani?

- The idea was suggested by a noticeably intensified initiative in many countries aimed at familiarizing the general public with relatively little-known layers of world culture. Structures are being created everywhere that organize various art exhibitions, publish literature about the culture of many peoples, etc. Their activities are mainly based on patronage and charity, but state support also takes place. The founders and organizers of the Marjani Foundation envisioned it as a kind of center for collecting monuments of Muslim culture and promoting this peculiar, deeply humanistic culture, about which most Russians still have a rather superficial idea.

The Foundation, established in 2006, is named after Shihabutdin Marjani (1818-1889), one of the Tatar Muslim figures who combined both spiritual and secular ideas in his worldview. He was a major theologian, theologian, philosopher, and historian of the second half of the 19th century, who had a significant influence on the development of the spiritual culture of Muslim society in Russia at that time. We hope to continue Marjani's cultural and educational activities.

- The exhibition of masterpieces of Islamic culture from the collection of the Marjani Foundation at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts has aroused great interest among the Moscow public. Do you plan to show it, in whole or in part, in other cities of the country? What is the basis of the idea to collect exactly this number of exhibits -99?

- To collect in the museum halls 99 objects according to the number of beautiful names of the Almighty, in our opinion, was a sign from above. Initially, we planned to present 100 masterpieces to the Russian public - a round three-digit number would give a certain shade of grandeur to the exhibition project. However, it so happened that even before the opening of the exhibition, we replaced a number of art objects with others and, as a result, as a result, we counted just 99 exhibits. This sacred number for Muslims formed the basis for the name of the exhibition.

We have already received offers to organize a similar exhibition in other cities of Russia; we hope to hold it next year in Kazan. Most likely, we will take the Moscow exhibition as a basis, but we will definitely weave in a new idea and concept.

- How many art objects does the Foundation have? Tell us how you collected the Foundation's art collection, part of which you showed to the Russian public at the last exhibition.

- We have been actively collecting a collection of Islamic art objects for several years now. Purchases are made mainly abroad - from private collectors, professional dealers, and gallery owners. The Western art market is a fairly developed structure, and if you want, you can find a lot of valuable rarities there. We constantly consult with experts - art historians and historians - regarding the authenticity of purchased art objects. Thanks to careful selection, the collection of the Foundation included quite rare items that may have belonged to the rulers of the East in the past.

But I can't name the exact number of items in the fund - we haven't counted them yet. In general, the Foundation's employees are now actively searching and collecting, driven by the desire to collect a collection worthy of a museum.

- Are there many private collections or foundations in Russia that you cooperate with? Do you manage to make valuable new acquisitions?

- Of course, there are quite a few private collections in Russia. But we still know almost nothing about many of them - collectors of eastern cultural objects are in no hurry to show their treasures. But it's only a matter of time before we find a common language with them.

Important and interesting acquisitions are also happening recently. And not always important and interesting for us - it means expensive in price. Here, by the way, much depends on the case. Our employees sometimes stumbled across unique works of art in inconspicuous shops in the markets of Eastern countries. And this, believe me, is a huge piece of luck.

What new exhibition projects does the Foundation intend to implement in the foreseeable future?

- We hope to hold the next exhibitions in close cooperation with the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow, where we have already held several exhibitions dedicated to the fine arts of various Eastern countries, including the young states of Central Asia. In November-December 2013, we plan to open an exhibition of Rasim Babayev, an Azerbaijani artist of the late 20th century.


* For more information, see: Asia and Africa Today. 2013, N 7.

page 67

In September 2013, the Central Museum of Modern History of Russia will host an exhibition of oriental posters from the 1920s-1940s. Both the museum and our Foundation have a large collection of works by poster artists of that time. The exhibition will feature posters in several languages - Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Tatar and Arabic.

The Foundation plans to participate in the most interesting exhibition project of the State Hermitage Museum. We are ready to provide this museum with a number of art objects related to the travels of Ibn Battuta*. An exhibition dedicated to this traveler will be held in the Hermitage in 2014. By the way, this year is the anniversary for the Hermitage, when it will be celebrated 250 years since its foundation.

- In your opinion, is it advisable to create a permanent Museum of Islamic Culture in Russia - in Moscow, Kazan or any other city-with the involvement of materials from your foundation? Is this issue already being worked out in practical terms, or is it "not yet time"?

- Of course, it is advisable. And I will even say more - we are striving for this. Moscow and Kazan are the first candidates for this important mission. I can't name any specific dates, as we are just considering this issue. Perhaps it will be not just a museum of Islamic culture, but a museum-exhibition and educational center, which will host both permanent and temporary expositions, various cultural events, scientific forums, seminars, lectures, round tables - which, in fact, is included in the framework of the Foundation's scientific activities today.

Scientific activities in the field of history and culture of Islam and the Muslim world are widely discussed in the Foundation's materials published on the Internet. Tell us about the most interesting and important studies. What areas of work is the Foundation developing today or planning to develop in the future?

- The Foundation's research program includes commented translation of fundamental works of Muslim religious and political thought, historical sources and documents from Arabic, Persian, various Turkic and Caucasian languages; study and publication of the most important archival documents of Muslim communities in Russia, the former republics of the Soviet Union, Europe, and the Near and Middle East; research of cultural and social aspects of the Eurasian muslim communities.

Currently, the Foundation has a research group that implements, together with invited experts from various academic institutions, including foreign ones, a number of projects within the framework of several research programs: "Classical Islamic Heritage", "Islam and Muslim Culture in the Russian Empire, the USSR and post-Soviet States", " History and Culture of the Golden Age Hordes of the Jochid States of Eurasia".

These scientific studies are reflected in book and journal publications, including the specialized almanac of the Pax Islamica Foundation **. In the future, in addition to translating and publishing historical monuments, we plan to develop research in the field of sociology and social anthropology of Muslim communities.

Since 2007, the Foundation has been holding an international scientific conference "The World of Islam: History, Society, Culture"on a regular basis. Several scholars of Oriental studies who constantly cooperate with the Foundation also take part in various conferences on Islam, culture and art of the peoples of Eurasia, the Near and Middle East in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Crimea and other places.

Since 2012, the All-Russian State Library of Foreign Literature named after M. I. Rudomino has opened an office of Islamic studies, where regular research seminars and public lectures are held.

- The Marjani Foundation is currently working exclusively in Russia. Does he participate in any international projects?

- We have not yet entered the international arena. And in Russia we work quite actively. Twice we organized scientific conferences on Islamic studies, which were also attended by foreign scientists. The exhibition at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was also held in close cooperation with foreign specialists. Exhibitions of works by Uzbek and Azerbaijani artists that the Foundation has organized in Moscow can also be considered partly international.

Among other things, the Foundation is engaged in publishing activities. In particular, the catalog of the exhibition "99 names of the Almighty", released by the Foundation, is beyond praise in terms of content and quality of printing execution. What other printed works does the Foundation expect to release in the near future and where can they be purchased?

- Publishing activities are carried out within the framework of the Foundation, but are subordinate to the publishing house, which also bears the name of Marjani. Our publishing house is small and very specialized. It publishes scientific works of Russian Orientalists - studies in the field of history, religious studies and politics, as well as the best examples of Muslim classics.

The catalog of the exhibition of Islamic art, containing detailed descriptions of each exhibit, really turned out to be successful. We will try to make the catalog of the exhibition of Islamic posters, which I mentioned above, no worse.

As new printed works, I will mention: Bustanov A. K. "Book culture of Siberian Muslims", the work was carried out within the framework of the project "Muslim manuscripts in Western Siberia", supported by the Marjani Foundation; Ganich A. A. Collection of documents " Spiritual boards of Muslims of Transcaucasia in the Russian Empire (XIX - early XX century)", the book reflects the process of writing in the Russian Empire. evolution of Islam in the Russian Empire, in particular, its institutionalization in the Transcaucasian provinces; Kramarovsky M. G. Collection of scientific articles and essays by famous Russian and foreign scientists " From Onon to Thames. The Genghisids and their Western neighbors." The scientific material presented in this book covers a wide range of problems of history, archeology, numismatics, and art related to the Genghisid Mongols and their neighbors in Asia Minor and the Balkans.

The publishing house also publishes books for children. In particular, we consider the project - the best folk tales in the "Tales of the Great Silk Road" series-to be somewhat unique. As an appendix to the books - a map of the Great Silk Road and discs with audio versions of fairy tales performed by famous artists.

Our publications can be purchased in the online store of the publishing house, in a number of bookstores in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities of Russia.


* Ibn Battuta (1304-1377) - an outstanding Arab traveler of the XIV century.

** Pax Islamica - the Islamic world.


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