DR. HASHIM AL-TAWIL,
ART HISTORY INSTRUCTOR
When it comes to a well-rounded education, art history students at Henry Ford Community College don’t know how good they have it. Dr. Hashim Al-Tawil was raised in Iraq, and first fell in love with his discipline viewing the intricate geometric patterns of Islamic art; later, he became immersed in Western art, and today displays, both in his artistic output and his world philosophy, a dual understanding.
“It’s true,” he admits in his well-used studio in Farmington Hills, which may to an outsider appear slightly cluttered, but which to him is a sanctuary containing inspirations and tools that allow the continuation of his multicultural ‘voice’. Busts of musical masters like Brahms and Beethoven sit alongside replicas of Michelangelo’s David; CDs cover the gamut, with Bill Evans at Montreaux flanking The Music of Islam.
It was a fascination with the technical side of art that steered Dr. Hashim, ultimately, to a study of the mechanisms of an artist’s brain—the ‘x’ factor that produces work in various genres. Art history was the logical progression, and he obtained a Ph.D in this subject from the University of Iowa. He now holds the Art History Chair at HFCC and has shown artwork throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Whereas his Muslim identity is stamped on many of his pieces, which may include traditional and innovative Arabic calligraphy, global influence can be seen in most of his works at many turns, including those currently displayed at the Rotterdam museum in the Netherlands.
Earlier this year, he received a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar grant, with a research topic as “The Arabic Calligraphy of the Palatine Chapel in Palermo and other Related Buildings in Sicily during the Norman Reign.”