There is no end to authentic Islamic art on the Internet, but very little of it is organized in such a way that it can be easily searched and used for practical purposes. As a labor of love, Ikram Kurdi (founder of quranclub.net) took on the task of building the Internet Islamic Art Database where various types of Islamic art, including graphics, posters, and photos are categorized and easy to locate using common search terms on the site. The IIADB also allows popular search engines to make sense of the artwork even when the title or content is not in English, making it available for anyone to search for and enjoy.
When most people hear the term “Islamic art” they think of Islamic architecture, calligraphy, and the kinds of antiquities that found in museums. While IIADB does include a lot of these things, it also incorporates contemporary photography, drawings, paintings, and other visual works that have Islam or Muslims as a theme. The IIADB accepts Islamic artwork submissions, making it a great way for budding young artists to have their work seen by a worldwide audience. Submissions must be Islamic-themed and of the highest quality to be included, ensuring that users won’t have to dig through thousands of a amateur works before find something they can use.
Ikram Kurdi hopes that IIADB will help improve the image of Islam on the internet by increasing the amount of true information about Islam that people can find in searches. “We cannot fight Islamophobia simply by pointing out the falsity of the misconceptions, but by showing, again and again, what the truth really looks like. Islamic media does this job well,” he said. “One of the ways that people get their false ideas about Islam is through web searches. IIADB replaces some of the negative results with positive results. Thus when people search for the term ‘muslim woman’ they may see IIADB photos of smiling women in elegant hijabs, Muslim mothers playing with their children, or happy Muslim couples, instead of only seeing newspaper photos of oppressed-looking women, or women with injuries that are falsely attributed to Islamic practices.”
Considering the ever-increasing number of Muslim bloggers and content creators each year, the IIADB will no doubt become a valuable resource for improving the aesthetics of Muslim websites and visually educating Internet users on the richness of Muslim history, cultures, and beliefs
A small sample of some of the art found on IIADB (click to enlarge):