Continuing Studies staff members are available M–F, 8:30 – 4:30 CT at 312.629.6170 to answer your questions. You may also email us at We are here to help!

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Islamic Art: The Mastery of Geometry One-Week Intensive

This hands-on course will teach you how to construct the geometric shapes that have played a dominant role in Islamic art and design over the centuries. With a compass and ruler, you will learn how to create the circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, and their segments that underpin the non-figural decoration of both objects and structures in Islamic art. Each class will begin with a lecture on the history and geometric principles of a particular pattern, followed by a step-by-step tutorial in constructing the design. Artwork from the Islamic Art galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago museum will act as a source for inspiration and discussion. Xenia, your instructor, is the coeditor of Deconstructing the Myths of Islamic Art. 

Sample course outline (subject to change):

  • Day 1: Introduction to Islam and the Art of Islam, constructing a basic pattern using a compass and ruler
  • Day 2: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan; introduction to geometry in contemporary art 
  • Day 3: Morocco, Spain
  • Day 4: Egypt 
  • Day 5: Iran, India, Turkey 

About the Instructor: Xenia Gazi is a globally-educated curator, museum educator, and artist with a focus on Islamic art from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA regions). She holds an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Coventry University, United Kingdom. Her most recent research project, “Against Invisibility,” investigates ways in which contemporary and modern art institutions curate and display MENASA-specific Islamic art.

Optional campus housing is available for an additional $500 a week for a single room or $375 for a double room. Housing registration takes place after you enroll for the course. If you would like to register for housing, please complete your course enrollment online now and then email us at or call 312.629.6170.


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islamic art
Course start date
Course end date
Class meeting time 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM CT
Class meeting days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Building and room Sharp Building, Room 1214
Course number 1197
Course instructor Xenia Gazi