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The Life and Legacy of Behjat Sadr
Thursday, July 27th,  6pm

The Institute of Arab & Islamic Art (IAIA) was pleased to host panel discussion with Scholar and Curator Layla Diba and Clare Davies, Associate Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and moderated by Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, the Founder and Director of IAIA.

The event, in conjunction with Behjat Sadr's first institutional solo exhibition in New York, featured an introduction to Behjat's life, tracing her journey across Iran, Italy and France. The discussion drew on Behjat's artistic practice and her style in parallel to her contemporaries in Iran and across the globe. Identity and politics have often marginalised artists from the Arab and Islamic region. How has the wave of rediscoveries helped reevaluate their position as part of a larger global conversation?

Speakers Bio:


Clare Davies joined the department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met 2015. In the intervening years, she developed the museum’s holdings of modern and contemporary works from the MENAT region and curated a series of critically acclaimed exhibitions including the retrospective Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, which opened at the Walker Art Institute, Minneapolis in 2018 and at The Met in 2019; Alien Property / Rayyane Tabet, a collaboration with the artist and The Met’s department of Ancient Near Eastern Art (2019-2021); and Louise Bourgeois: Paintings at The Met and the New Orleans Museum of Art (2022). She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Layla S. Diba is an independent art advisor, scholar and curator specializing in the art of 19 th and 20th century Iran. She has been the Founding Director and Chief Curator of the Negarestan Museum of 18th and 19th century Iranian Art in Tehran from 1975-78 and the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s Curator of Islamic Art from 1990-2000 where she organized the groundbreaking exhibition Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch (1785-1925). Dr. Diba has also collaborated with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum and Asia Society Museum in New York and sits on the Boards of the Soudavar Memorial Foundation and of The National Museum of Asian Art, Charles Lang Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries, Washington

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