Newport, RI – Newport Art Museum’s Art
Dive into The Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa
This Art After Dark, join us as we explore the fascinating Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa exhibition through a special tour of the galleries with the Newport Art Museum’s Senior Curator Francine Weiss, followed by Arabic Calligraphy mini-workshops led by Hajj Wafaa, Master Calligrapher.
Recent years have brought an unprecedented number of exhibitions devoted to Islamic art, art of the “Arab World” or “Middle East”, stimulated by the increased international attention brought on in part by the intense political, ideological and sociological changes in the region. Populist resistance movements, activism and anti-government organized protests over the last several years have drawn global attention, and have inspired the works of many contemporary artists.
The Shapes of Birds is a major exhibition that showcases the work of 19 contemporary artists from, or with roots in, the Middle East and North Africa. Working in a wide array of media—sculpture, installation, video, photography, painting, and illustration—the artists in this show both embrace older artistic traditions while exploring new media, ideas, and technologies. Though from different countries, and with unique stories, the artists in The Shapes of Birds speak to themes of identity, history, tradition, memory and renewal.
Dive into this very special exhibition with a tour led by Senior Curator Francine Weiss.
Arabic Calligraphy Demonstrations & Mini-workshops
Arabic Calligraphy, the most esteemed art form in the Islamic world, is used to adorn religious and secular objects alike, in virtually every medium. Join us in the gallery to learn the fundamental marks for one of the most delicate and graceful scripts in the world. Calligrapher Hajj Wafaa will lead demonstrations, introduce materials, explain techniques, and guide guests through simple calligraphic exercises.
About Master Calligrapher Hajj Wafaa
Master Calligraphy Hajj Wafaa was born and raised in the old town of the city of Kufa, Iraq. He learned calligraphy from his uncle who was writing on fabric for businesses. He began studying the script style ”thuluth”, the most challenging in Arabic calligraphy, in 1986. Since then he has learned many of the various Arabic calligraphic styles. He began teaching calligraphy in 2009 at the largest Mosque in New England, the Islamic Socitety of Boston Cultural Center. He has led numerous workshops in the Boston area, including at the Boston MFA, UMass Amherst and Boston University. He currently teaches middle and high school students at Al-Noor Academy in Mansfield, Mass, and will teach workshops at the Worcester Art Museum in Worchester, Mass.
5:00, 6:00, 7:30 pm Calligraphy Demonstrations begin
6:30 pm Curator Tour
Art After Dark is free for Museum Members, and a $10 suggested donation for non-members.
Calligraphy Demonstrations and Mini-Workshops are free.
Light refreshments and cash bar will be available.
Photo: Samira Alikhanzadeh, No.1 (from the Centennial Series), 2013, Digital print, mirror fragments and acrylic on board, 35 x 50 inches, Courtesy of the artist.