1001 Nights: Magnificent Tales from the Near East BOOKED OUT

    • 	Image: Persian School (16th century) Ms D-212 fol.285a Alexander Visits a Hermit, illustration to The Book of Alexander by Elias Nezami, 1191 c1550 (detail) Institute of Oriental Studies, St Petersburg, Russia/Bridgeman Images
    • With Julian Droogan

      Member, Lecture / symposium

Join us as we follow the alluring Scheherazade in telling some of the magnificent stories of the Near East in order to entertain, beguile and inspire. The Near East, more usually called the Middle East today, is a region that many associate with either its ancient archaeological past or its contemporary reputation for conflict and insecurity. However, beyond these Western preoccupations about the region, and our own orientalist and romantic fantasies, lies a rich and complex world with many stories to tell.

Over six weeks we travel the lands of the Near East, from Egypt and Arabia, to the Silk Roads and Indian Ocean, and explore some of the great artistic and religious themes that have animated these lands for centuries. Travelling back and forward in time, we will linger in the world of medieval Classical Islam, the time of the 1001 Nights, Harun al-Rashid, and Sinbad the Sailor; an era of magnificent architecture, sublime poetry, rich mysticism, and 1001 untold stories.

Book online

Friday full-series: Sold out

Saturday full-series: Sold out

Individual lectures: see below

Listen to podcasts

Available on Soundcloud

Various Fridays and Saturdays 10.30am
21 June to 3 August 2019
See listing for dates

Single session:
$50 non-member
$40 member

Full series:
$270 non-member
$210 member

Bookings and enquiries: 02 9225 1878

Cancellations:
Three full working days (Mon–Fri) notice is required to qualify for a refund. All refunds attract an administration charge of 25% of the ticket price(s) with a minimum charge of $5. With subscription tickets there are no refunds for single sessions, unless a session is cancelled. Not negotiable.

Duration 2 hours
Location: Domain Theatre

Proudly sponsored by
Arab Bank Australia

Image: Persian School (16th century) Ms D-212 fol.285a Alexander Visits a Hermit, illustration to The Book of Alexander by Elias Nezami, 1191 c1550 (detail) Institute of Oriental Studies, St Petersburg, Russia/Bridgeman Images

    • The melancholic pleasure of ruins

      Charges apply

      Friday 21 June 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 22 June 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Read the description

      The Middle East is the Cradle of Civilisation, and as such, its lands are strewn with the monumental and crumbling ruins of antiquity. Although silent, these mysterious edifices of the past have attracted folklore, myth, the attention of philosophers and poets, and – according to some – djinns and spirits, for millennia. This week we explore the place ruins and the past hold in the arts, poetry, and religious traditions of the Middle East.

      Important – This lecture will now take place on 21 and 22 June, not 28 and 29 June as previously advertised. The Gallery apologises for any inconvenience.

    • Earthly paradises

      Charges apply

      Friday 5 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 6 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Read the description

      The sacred garden situated amid desert wastes is perhaps the oldest story ever told. As a theme, it goes back to the ancient Sumerians. It recurs in the mythic stories of the Old Testament, ancient Babylon, and the Islamic world. From the Persian charbagh, to the Garden of Eden, and to the sublime architecture of the mosque, the intersection of water, gardens and desert has been central to Middle Eastern spiritual and artistic traditions. This talk follows this motif from the ancient world through to the great architecture of Classical Islam.

    • Of poets and mystics

      Charges apply

      Friday 12 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 13 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

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      Mystic poetry can lead from the terrestrial to the half-glimpsed transcendent world beyond. For Sufi mystics the world dissolves into light, a process celebrated and cultivated through music and song. Persian poetry has elevated the self-annihilation of lamentation and the ecstasy of passion and love to a refined spiritual path. This week, we will explore some of the schools of poetic mysticism that exist in the Middle East, and the traditions of Hafez, Rumi, and the Sufi mystics.

    • Frankincense routes

      Charges apply

      Friday 19 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 20 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

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      The Middle East has long been associated with the desert in the Western imagination. This however ignores the great maritime currents that have flowed through the religion, commerce, exploration, and heroic tales of the Indian Ocean from time immemorial. From Nabbatean and Roman traders out to make their fortune, to the stories of the legendary Sinbad and Hamza, in this talk we sail the ancient frankincense routs and chart a lost maritime world that was one of the great cultural and artistic melting-pots of history.

    • Silken roads

      Charges apply

      Friday 26 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 27 July 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

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      The fabled Silk Roads have linked the Mediterranean world with the Near East and far China for two thousand years. Traders and spies, artists and adventurers, rogues and missionaries all wandered the many routes spreading goods, arts, ideas, and faiths. This week, we will look at the unique art, the little known stories, and unforgettable characters that have contributed to the sagas of the Silk Road.

    • Lost enlightenment?

      Charges apply

      Friday 2 August 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Saturday 3 August 10:30am – 12:30pm
      SOLD OUT

      Read the description

      The Middle East and Central Asia have been centres of literature, science, learning, and philosophy since the invention of writing, if not before. During the medieval era of Classic Islam the Near East saw its most recent flowing, with philosophers and mystics investigating and debating the nature of reality and meaning of human existence. In this talk we will dive into the thoughts and lives of some of these great thinkers, and see how their ideas built the foundations of our modern world.