Mirjam Shatanawi

Mirjam Shatanawi

Mirjam Shatanawi (1973) is the Curator responsible for the Middle Eastern and North African collections. She specialises in Islamic visual culture, but more generally her expertise is on the history and culture of the region. Her research interests include the histories of representating the Islamic world in Dutch museums.


Among the many exhibitions Mirjam (co-)curated are The Sixties: A worldwide happening (Tropenmuseum, 2015), Sacred Places (MAS, Antwerp 2014), Escher meets Islamic Art (Tropenmuseum, 2013), Palestina 1948 (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria 2010 / Vlaardingen 2008 / Tropenmuseum 2008), and Urban Islam (Museum der Kulturen, Basel 2006 / Tropenmuseum 2003).
Mirjam studied Arabic Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and African and Asian History in London (SOAS, University of London). She conducted anthropological research on the position of Muslim women in Senegal and Sudan.  
Currently, Mirjam works on her PhD research Framing Indonesian art. This project focuses on how ‘Islam’ was collected, categorized and exhibited in Dutch museums, in particular the almost total absence of Indonesia in the narrative of Islamic art history.

Selected Publications

  • The Sixties: A Wordwide Happening (with Wayne Modest), Eindhoven: Lecturis, 2015 
  • Islam at the Tropenmuseum, Arnhem: LM Publishers, 2014 
  • “Curating against dissent: Museums and the public debate on Islam” in Political and Cultural Representations of Muslims: Islam in the Plural, eds. Christopher Flood et al., Leiden: Brill, 2012 
  • “Engaging Islam: working with Muslim communities in a multicultural society” Curator. The museum journal, 55 1, 2012