Karamah (‘marvel’): an exploration of the literal and ethnographic meaning of miracles among Shi`a female artists in Kuwait

Nada Al-Hudaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This position paper examines new forms of painted artworks made by pious Shi`a female artists in Kuwait, which treat imagery and experience known as Karamah (sing.) and Karamat (pl.), commonly understood as ‘miracle’. I examine current anthropological considerations of ‘miracle’ and I find that the most suitable translation of the Arabic word Karamah may be ‘marvel’, rather than ‘miracle’, although how Shi`a use and understand ‘Karamah’ may differ regionally. Fieldwork interviews and ethnography reveal that the paintings objectify the relationship between people and the family members of the Prophet Mohammed known as Ahl Al-Bayt. I argue that the new forms and, increasingly, exhibitions comprise important forms of ‘service’ dedicated to Ahl Al-Bayt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Art
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • miracles
  • religious art
  • materiality
  • Islamic art
  • Ahl Al-Bayt
  • Kuwait
  • Shi`a art;
  • Karamah
  • karamat

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