Ziya Azazi, Dervish in Progress, whirls across the floor of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Cullinan Hall during the Art of the Islamic Worlds gala. (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Art of the Islamic Worlds gala executive committee Sabiha Rehmatulla, Sima Ladjevardian, Rania Daniel, Monsour Taghdisi (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Elyse Lanier, Aliyya Stude, Marcia Lima, Elisabeth McCabe (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Gordon Bethune & Jessica Rossman, Catherine & Cenk Ozdogan (Photo by Wilson Parish)
The Events Company creates a dazzling setting for the Art of the Islamic Worlds 'Under One Moon' gala (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Amir Taghdisi, Anooshea & Ali Taghdisi (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Orchids, calla lilies and hydrangeas infuse the Art of the Islamic Worlds' gala with floral sophistication. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Christopher Gardner and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Gary Tinterow.
Henry Richardson & Monsour Taghdisi (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Lily Kooros, Kayvon & Shiva Tavakoli (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Aimee Froom, Alexandre Levy-Thiebaut (Photo by Wilson Parish)
German & Micheline Newall (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Bobby & Phoebe Tudor (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Louis & Gail Adler (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Marty & Kathy Goossen (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Nizar & Shiroz Virani (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Sarah & Reza Ebrahimi (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Lisa & Kevin Phan (Photo by Wilson Parish)
Ziya Azazi twirls for some 30 minutes during the MFAH Art of the Islamic Worlds gala. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Ziya Azazi, “Dervish in Progress,” whirled his rapturous Islamic magic beneath a glowing moon that beamed through its various phases overhead while shooting stars crossed the night sky. And a chic clutch of art patrons swooned.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston‘s “Art of the Islamic Worlds Gala” presented a stunning visual tableau that embraced the “Under One Moon” theme of the evening. Even while the 375 guests mingled in the museum foyer during cocktails, the moon glowed and stars shimmered across the walls of Cullinan Hall.
We must applaud The Events Company, which created the heavenly backdrop to the proceedings with equal plaudits going to the gala’s executive committee which divined the all-encompassing moonlit theme. Putting their imprimatur on the black-tie evening were Rania Daniel, Zeina Fares, Vahid Kooros, Sima Ladjevardian, Sultana Mangalji, Franci Neely, Cenk Ozdogan, Sabiha Rehmatulla, Aliyya Study and Monsour Taghdisi.
As has been the case since the founding of the biennial gala, which benefits the museum’s collection of Islamic art, Shahla and Hushang Ansary made a generous contribution. This year, the Ansary’s $500,000 gift contributed nicely to the evening’s proceeds of $945,000. The sum allowed the museum to acquire two precious huqqa bases (silver- and brass-inlaid water pipe bases).
City Kitchen worked its culinary magic creating a three-course meal interpreting classic Middle Eastern flavors. Think eggplant and chickpea salad, grilled lamb loin with saffron rice pilaf and roasted sea bass, plus a plate of three desserts that included rose petal rice pudding.
The evening closed with dancing to the sounds of DJ Senega, though no fancy footwork could compare to the whirls of the dervish, which one Turkish guest labeled the “techno dervish” due to the colored lights and striking musical sounds that accompanied his moves.
PC Seen: Grand underwriters Jaleh and Bruce Sallee, plus Mona and Andrew Sarofim, Mehrnaz and Ned Gill, Francoise and Ed Djerejian, Qatar Consul General Rashid Al-Dehaimi, Henry Richardson, Alma Kombargi, Diana and Chase Untermeyer, Niousha and Ali Ansari, Tony Chase and Dina Al Sowayel, Lily and Charles Foster, Daniela and Monolo Sanchez, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, Lily and Hamid Kooros, Art of the Islamic Worlds curator Aimee Froom, and MFAH director Gary Tinterow.