Contemporary Art and Sufi Aesthetics in European Contexts: Special Issue “Sufism in the Modern World”

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This article examines the work of seven contemporary artists whose aesthetics exemplify the “lived” experience of Islamic mysticism or Sufism (Arabic tasawwuf) within a European context. The work of artists born in Islamic majority countries and familiar with “traditional” Sufi idioms and discourses, but now immersed in Western culture, is often associated with “diasporic art”. From this hybrid perspective some of their artistic narratives reconfigure or even subvert the “traditional” Sufi idioms, and do so in such a way as to provoke a more profound sensory experience in the viewer than traditional forms of art. Drawing upon recent methodological tendencies inspired by the “aesthetic turn”, this study explores post- and decolonial ways of thinking about Sufi-inspired artworks, and the development of a transcultural Sufi-inspired aesthetic within the context of migration and displacement over the last half-century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number196
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 504017 Cultural anthropology
  • 603101 Aesthetics
  • 603110 Metaphysics


  • Contemporary art
  • Aesthetics
  • Sufism
  • Europe
  • transculturality
  • diasporic art
  • migration
  • decoloniality
  • contemporary art
  • aesthetic turn

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