Fables across Time: Kalila and Dimna

In 2012 the Bahrain National Museum and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum independently invited art historian and artist Sabiha Al Khemir to organize an exhibition. She created an interactive show for youngsters around stories whose roots reach back through Arabic and Persian to the Sanskrit animal fables an Indian vizier purportedly spun to edify three unruly princes more than 2,000 years ago. Her book, in both English and Arabic, uses paintings she made for the exhibition to illustrate three of these ancient tales: the three fish; the lion and the ox; and the four friends. The moral of each one unfolds through vivid, charming illustrations and clear, simple text. The middle story features the jackals Kalila and Dimna. One is good, the other evil, yet here they look identical. In the grand tradition of Islamic illustrated manuscripts, Al Khemir’s visuals add their own agenda: One cannot judge from appearances, they whisper as we turn the page.

Fables across Time: Kalila and Dimna
RSS Feed AramcoWorld MagazineAtom 1.0

Stay up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest features, events, reviews, teaching aids and digital-only content.