Discovering Islamic Southeast Asia in the Asian Civilisations Museum Collection


About the webinar

Southeast Asia today is home to around one quarter of the world’s Muslim population. With majorities in Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and significant minorities in Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines, Muslims make up just under half of the region’s population. But Islam’s presence is not just of contemporary significance. The Asian Civilisations Museum’s (ACM) galleries kick off with the finds from the wreck of a 9th century CE Arabian dhow that were recovered off Belitung – proof of Southeast Asia’s early contact with Islam. Ensuing Islamic encounters led to the establishment of the first sultanate in northern Sumatra by the late 13th century CE. Despite its long history, Islamic art has been understudied and underappreciated. From the ‘ethnographic’ material collected during the Raffles Museum period (ACM’s predecessor) to the ACM’s recent acquisitions, we explore a variety of materials – textiles, metalwork, woodcarving and manuscripts – for insights into patterns of cultural exchange as well as influences from within the region and with the wider Islamic world.

For more information on the webinar series, click here.

About the Speaker

Ms Noorashikin binte Zulkifli joined the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) in 2015 as curator of Islamic art where she developed the current Islamic Art gallery as part of ACM’s revamp and curated the exhibition, ‘Ilm: Science and Imagination in the Islamic World (2016). Noora is currently working on the revamp of the Peranakan Museum, with a special interest in Muslim Peranakan communities such as the Jawi Peranakans. Before this, she was a curator at the Malay Heritage Centre in Kampong Gelam, Singapore’s historic Muslim quarter and port town. She worked on the 2012 revamp of its permanent galleries, and curated several exhibitions including Yang Menulis | They Who Write (2012) and Budi Daya (2015). Her meandering journey, from the contemporary to the historical, has encompassed curatorial and programming positions at NUS Museum and Singapore Art Museum. She holds a MA in Interactive Media and Critical Theory from Goldsmiths College, UK. Noora’s current research interests revolve around Islamic Southeast Asia.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session.


Dec 01 2021


10:00 am - 11:30 am