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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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Riyaaz Qawwali Brings South Asian Music Tradition to Northeast Florida



The people of Jacksonville will have a chance to experience the fusion of Islamic tradition and contemporary artistry that is Riyaaz Qawwali this summer. The concert is an extension of Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston that will run until Sunday, September 3.

Riyaaz Qawwali is a talented musical group of South Asian musicians representing an eclectic collection of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. While the members of Riyaaz Qawwali live in the United States, they are originally from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

What is Qawwali? Qawwali is a Muslim musical tradition that dates back more than seven centuries and is still popular today in certain areas of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. A devotional style of music, Qawwali is largely associated with Sufism, an Islamic practice that focuses on personal enlightenment and the actualization of Truth.

Riyaaz Qawwali strives to bring the Qawwali style of music to new places and new audiences, and the unique musical style includes elements not found in other South Asian music. Riyaaz Qawwali takes the style one step further by fusing traditional Qawwali music with the work of well-known South Asian poets. The ensemble’s various religious and ethnic backgrounds send a message of unity and oneness while exposing younger generations across the world to their music.

The concert will be held August 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 for non-members, and registration is required to reserve a seat at the show! For further information or to register, please call 904.899.6038 or register online.

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Family Activity Series: Spain and Northwestern Africa



We have come a long way and made it to the regions of Spain and Northwestern Africa! You can find Islamic influences across the globe! The item we are given to examine is a page of the Qur’an featuring Maghrib script, a decorative calligraphy, named for the area of Northwestern Africa and Spain known as Maghrib.

The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam, and it is said that God, through the angel Gabriel, verbally delivered the book’s contents to Muhammad. For this activity, we will learn to write the words Assalamu alaykum or, “Peace be with you,” in Arabic script! It’s considered a devotional act to copy text from the Qur’an. An outline of the phrase is given below!

Trace the outline and then practice writing the phrase! How did you do? Now that you know how to write an Arabic phrase in Maghrib, it’s time to leave Northwestern Africa and head to Bukhara, Uzbekistan.


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Family Activity Series: Bukhara, Uzbekistan



We have come a long way in our quest to learn about Islamic traditions and treasures! In fact, we have come so far that we are in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the last stop on our journey.

A woman traditionally wore a munisak when she got married and then to rituals and ceremonies that occurred after the wedding. The coats feature bold colors and patterns. The munisak on the left is beautiful and intricate. Now, use the outline on the right and create your own ceremonial coat!


What colors and patterns did you use and why? Where would you wear you coat?

Now that you’ve finished your munisak, it’s time to head back to the Museum because we have successfully completed our quest! I hope you have learned something about the ancient Islamic treasures and why they’re significant. We hope you have enjoyed the beauty and history that Ink, Silk, and Gold had to offer.

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Family Activity Series: Northern India



Welcome to our third stop in our activity series, Northern India! The item India brings us is a large illustration that belongs to a manuscript called Hamza Nama: Iskander Finds the Infant Darab in the Water. The Hamza Nama translates to the “Adventures of Hamza” and are the stories of the life of Hamza ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib. He was said to have been the uncle of Prophet Muhammad and battled demons and a wide array of other dangerous creatures.

This manuscript image in particular shows a fisherman called Iskander finding Hamza’s baby, Darab, on a raft in dangerous waters by a coast. The hint given is to look closely at the water to see the monsters and fish.



Take a look at the gorgeous illustration on the left. Then,using the outline on the right, draw your own illustration for a manuscript about your own own adventures. What would your adventure be? Where would you go? Once you’re finished with your illustration it will be time to leave India and head to Spain and Northwestern Africa!

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Ink, Silk, and Gold: The Islamic Faith



Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Bostonon display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibition.

Islam is a major world religion that dates back to the 7th century B.C.E. Muslim tradition believes that the Prophet Muhammad was God’s messenger and was the final prophet in the lineage of Abrahamic religions. Muslims believe that God’s will was verbally revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. These verbal revelations are preserved as written word within the pages of the Qur’an, the book of Islam.

Muhammad gained followers as he spoke of his divine revelations and left the spiritual center of Islamic faith, Mecca, for the city of Medina in 622. This migration was known as the hijra and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

When Muhammad died in 632, two-thirds of Arabia was considered Muslim territory. Islam is both a religion and a state, which at one pointed spanned from North Africa to South Asia. Today, Islam is practiced by more then a billion and a half people across the world.

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The Chef’s Canvas: Violet’s Gaze Cocktail



Today’s recipe is an adult beverage called Violet’s Gaze. Let’s walk through the recipe and learn how to recreate this work of art in a glass!

Violet’s Gaze
Serves 1

1 ¼ ounces Kappa Pisco
½ ounce Giffards crème de violet
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce simple syrup
1 dash of Abbotts bitters
1 egg white
Angostura bitters, to garnish
Chili powder, to garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake for 10 seconds. Add ice and cold shake for another 10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with Angostura bitters and chili powder.

Now you are ready to sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy your delicious, handmade Violet’s Gaze!

Severin Roesen
American, born in Germany,
c. 1815 – 1872
Still Life with Flowers, Fruit and Bird’s Nest
c. 1865
Oil on canvas
Gift of Diane DeMell Jacobsen, Ph.D. in loving
memory of her husband Thomas H. Jacobsen

Severin Roesen’s Still Life with Flowers, Fruit and Bird’s Nest illustrates Roesen’s talent for creating sumptuous and detailed still life paintings. This particular work was meant to represent the perceived abundance of American resources and the prevailing idea that the nation’s success was preordained by God.

I’m not going to lie; at first I was having a hard time finding inspiration from this painting (Still Life with Flowers, Fruit and Bird’s Nest, pictured above). I tried looking up the artist and maybe trying to find some inspiration from his life. Nothing. It wasn’t until I went to the Museum and saw it in person that it hit me like a ton of bricks. The little nest of eggs was calling to me; I’m a sucker for an egg drink. But, what was really getting me was the color violet in the corner, all by itself, and making a strong statement. My great-grandmother’s name was Violet, and she had to be one of the strongest people I have ever met. I miss her greatly, and I wanted to dedicate this to her memory. Thank you for all the life lessons, and you were right, hard work does pay off.” -Kurt Rogers, The Ice Plant

“The Chef’s Canvas” is a cookbook created to honor the Museum’s permanent collection. The book is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, from the Museum’s galleries to kitchens throughout the diverse food scene in Jacksonville. This collaboration is like nothing the Museum has done before, and we look forward to sharing select recipes and the pieces of art that inspired them with you in The Chef’s Canvas: The Recipe Series.

A work of art itself, “The Chef’s Canvas” was born of the idea that art fuels inspiration in all aspects of life, including in the kitchen. This unique collaboration allowed Jacksonville’s culinary experts to come explore the collection and leave with the inspiration to create delicious, beautiful dishes, desserts, and cocktails. This series aims to give you a taste of Jacksonville’s culture, flavors, and artistry.

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