"Dervishes: image and word" - a new exhibition in the MAE

On 20th of November 2017 in the museum was the solemn opening of the photo exhibition "The world is only a ray from the face of a friend, everything else is its shadow!" Dervishes: image and word. " Within the framework of this event, the presentation of three large interconnected research and cultural projects took place: the International Center for Islamic Studies, the Foundation for the Development of Scientific and Cultural Projects "Al Makam" and the festival "Dairafest."

From the first minutes in the hall on the 1st floor, live oriental music was played. People directly involved in the holiday turned to the guests and journalists with a salutatory word: MAE director Andrey Golovnev; the deputy director of the museum Yefim Rezvan, the author of the exhibition project and the head of the International Center for Islamic Studies; Alexander Kolesnikov, director of the St. Petersburg Regional Information and Analytical Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies; Igor Pankov, President of the Al Makam Foundation for the Development of Scientific and Cultural Initiatives; Ekaterina Teriukova, deputy director of the State Museum of the History of Religion.

Mr. Erol Ugurlu, the creator of the private center of Russian culture in Turkey and the owner of the El Prado Art Picture Gallery (Ankara) presented the Museum and the International Center for Islamic Studies with two paintings by the contemporary Turkish artist Khalil Akkurt devoted to Sufi topics. Naval, a wonderful singer from the Comoros, who belongs to the family of the most famous Sufi preacher in southwest Africa, not only congratulated the participants and guests on their common holiday, but also performed one of their famous ballads. Today, Nawal is the key figure representing the world the musical culture of his homeland.

The event was attended by Ali Turan, vice-consul of the Turkish Republic in St. Petersburg, and Julia Filippova, head of the department of cultural and historical heritage of the Committee for Culture of the Government of St. Petersburg.

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Андрей Головнев и Александр Колесников Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Андрей Головнев приветствует гостей и партнеров Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Андрей Головнев и Ефим Резван приветствуют гостей Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Андрей Головнев и Ефим Резван приветствуют гостей Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Церемония открытия выставки Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Екатерина Терюкова и Ефим Резван Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Екатерина Терюкова, Игорь Панков, Андрей Головнев Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Александр Колесников и Эрол Угурлу на открытии выставки в МАЭ Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Почетные гости Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Ефим Резван представляет организаторов фестиваля Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Наваль, Екатерина Терюкова, Игорь Панков Фото: Дмитрий Беляев

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Журналисты на открытии выставки Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Андрей Головнев и Ефим Резван принимают дар музею Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Вручение картин в подарок музею Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Эрол Угурлу вручает картины в дар музею Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Музыканты на открытии выставки Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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На открытии выставки Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Наваль и Игорь Панков Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Певица Наваль (Nawal) Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Директор музея Головнев А.В. Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Певица Наваль (Nawal) Фото: Станислав Шапиро

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Since olden times the bright images of dervishes have attracted the attention of Europeans, who sought in the East for both wisdom and exotics. Andron Sevryugin (1830-1933), was managed to "monopolize" the creation of the image of Persia for the outside world for quite a long time. Sevryugin, the son of a Russian diplomat, became a courtier photographer for the Qajar dynasty and the owner of one of the most successful photo studio in Tehran. A large collection of his photographs is stored in the funds of our Museum. They are the basis of a new exhibition project. An integral part of the photo exhibition are poems written at different times, but dedicated to one hero - dervish. According to the authors of the project, poetic lines allow us to discern in the photos of dervishes of the late XIX - early XX century what often escapes from the visitor of the Museum, full of new and unusual visual images.

In the spread of Islam around the world, a huge role was played by Sufi teachings and practices. An important part of the meditative practice of Sufism - collective dervishes’ rituals - easily included elements of local culture, which greatly facilitated the perception of Islamic truths in an originally alien cultural environment. Such rituals are often accompanied by playing musical instruments, singing, reciting fragments of the Koran, special rhythmic movements, circling, prayer postures, control of breathing. Diving into the elements of sound and movement was one way to achieve ecstasy. That is why part of the new museum project was the Mavlava ritual sama, which symbolizes a mystical journey.

The central event of the opening ceremony of the exhibition, of course, was the reconstruction of Sufi whirl, which is considered one of the oldest ritual practices. In 2005, the Mavlava ritual sama (whirls) was declared by UNESCO a masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage.