Thursday 19 October – Friday 22 December 2017

Exhibitions at The Street Gallery, IAIS

The Street Gallery is part of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and exhibits material culture and art with relevance to its academic interests, namely the Arab World, Middle East and Islam.

All exhibitions are open to the public Monday to Fridays (not public holidays) 9am - 5pm.

Current exhibition

The Worlds of Mandaean Priests

Mandaeans, sometimes called Sabians, practise an ancient and endangered religion.  Conflict in the Middle East has forced them out of their homelands in Iraq and Iran in ever greater numbers.  Although Mandaeans depend on their priests for preserving religious knowledge and performing complex rituals, few than 50 priests now remain worldwide.  We have interviewed priests, recorded the key rituals and shot documentary films in the largest communities of Australia and Sweden.

Our project is a collaboration between the universities of Exeter and Leiden, with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund.  The data collected can be seen on an open-access digital archive at:

Previous exhibitions

Full list of previous exhibitions here

Return to Kurdistan

Richard Wilding

The exhibition Return to Kurdistan shows Iraqi Kurdistan and Northern Iraq in contemporary photographs by Richard Wilding, alongside historical photographs taken in the 1940s by Anthony Kersting.

Richard Wilding's photographs of Iraqi Kurdistan explore the region's ancient civilisation, documenting its religious and ethnic diversity, history of persecution and renewal, and the current refugee crisis.

Wilding's subjects include Erbil citadel, which claims to be the world's oldest continuously inhabited city, the Yezidi shrines at Lalish near Mosul and the canals built in 690 BC by King Sennacherib to take water to his famed gardens in Nineveh.

He also documents the legacy of Saddam Hussein's brutal suppression of the Kurds and the current refugee crisis in the region, which has seen up to two million displaced people seeking refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Anthony Kersting (1916 - 2008) visited Northern Iraq and Kurdistan in 1944 and again in 1946.  His photographs form an important record of minorities such as Assyrian Christians, Jews and Yezidis that inhabited the region. They also show historical sites in and around Mosul such as Nebi Yunus (Jonah's tomb) that have recently been damamged or destroyed.

Organised by the University of Exeter and Gulan, a UK charity which promotes the culture of Kurdistan.

yemani sailors

Last Of The Dictionary Men: Stories From The South Shields Yemeni Sailors



The North East of England boasts a proud maritime and industrial heritage that has all but disappeared from today’s landscape along the River Tyne.  Within this heritage lies a remarkable Middle Eastern connection – South Shields is

the Land of the Arabs!

Over the course of 100 years, thousands of seamen from Yemen settled in the small town of South Shields and made it their home. Successful integration of the Yemeni community, it is argued, is one of the key multiculturalism stories that the region has to offer to the nation.

In 2005, the Iranian film director, Tina Gharavi, embarked on a journey to discover the legacy of Mohammed Ali’s visit to South Shields in 1977 (one day after the Queen’s Jubilee tour to the region). While filming she met with the Yemeni elders at the Al-Azhar mosque who shared glimpses of their amazing lives, previously unknown and untold.

A series of thirteen hand-coloured portraits by the internationally renowned photographer, Youssef Nabil, captures the first generation of Yemeni sailors with the pride they embody as individuals and as a community

Bridge + Tunnel Productions has developed a unique project, engaging two international artists (Tina Gharavi and Youssef Nabil) to work collaboratively with 14 Yemeni sailors, the last survivors of the first-generation who settled in South Shields.

The Exhibition ran from: Monday 24 November 2015 – Friday 29 January 2016.  



Faith and Fortune

Monday 25 May – Friday 19 December 2015

An exhibition focussing on the use of Late Antique coinage as a platform for the promotion of the respective political and religious ideals of the Byzantine, Umayyad and Sasanian Empires.

Further details here.



Calligraffiti - by eL Seed 'Multiple Identities' mural by el Seed

Not an exhibition, but a special work created by international calligraffiti artist eL Seed, on the wall of the Institute by the fountain.  Details of eL Seed's work may be viewed at

Contact us

If you would like any information about exhibitions at the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies, please contact:

Jane Clark (Manager)
The Street Gallery
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
University of Exeter
Stocker Road
United Kingdom