The Newport Art Museum’s next exciting Art After Dark program will be held on Thursday, November 8 from 5 – 9 pm. This event joins the ranks of the many events and educational programs the Museum currently offers in its galleries at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. Eclectic, curated programming ensures each Art After Dark will surprise and delight art lovers and night revelers alike. Admission to Art After Dark is free for Museum members and is a $10 suggested donation for non-members.

This month, Art After Dark will feature a very special film screening of Looking for Oum Kulthum, the latest feature film directed by renowned international artist and award winning filmmaker, Shirin Neshat.

Shirin Neshat is an acclaimed Iranian-born artist and filmmaker whose career has involved photography, video and full scale feature films. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in DC, the Arab Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Doha, and numerous other international museums and galleries. Her early photographic works explored the question of gender in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy, such as the Women of Allah series (1993–1997). Her subsequent videos departed from overtly political content or critique in favor of more poetic imagery and complex human narratives. Her most recent bodies of work include the photographic series The Book of Kings (2012), The Home of My Eyes (2015) and the trilogy Dreamers comprised of three video installations: Illusions and Mirrors (2013), Roja (2016), and Sarah (2016). In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

Her second feature-length film, completed in 2017 and screened only through international film festivals and Museums such as MoMA, BAM and the British Museum, is based on the life and art of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum (1898-1975). Known as the Maria Callas of the Arab world, Oum Kulthum’s voice enraptured listeners from Saudi Arabia to Israel. Largely unknown in the west, Kulthum is considered an Egyptian national treasure, and her songs remain symbols of peace and unity in the Arab world. The Newport Art Museum is proud to premiere Looking for Oum Kulthum in the region, to coincide with the Museum’s fall exhibitions The Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa, andLalla Essaydi: from “Converging Territories” to “Harem Revisited“, curated by Newport Art Museum Senior Curator Francine Weiss.

YouTube video

A film within a film, Looking for Oum Kulthum is the story of the plight of Mitra, an Iranian woman artist/filmmaker living in exile, as she embarks on capturing the life and art of the legendary Egyptian singer and diva, Oum Kulthum. Mitra’s film explores the struggles, sacrifices and the price of Oum Kulthum’s success as a female artist in a male dominated society. Having left her family behind for her career, and in her effort to capture the essence of Oum Kulthum as a myth, a woman and an artist, Mitra’s own struggles blend with those of the singer and she finds herself caught in an emotional and artistic breakdown. Neshat’s film depicts Kulthum’s life and career with stunning sets, costumes, and glorious, evocative music.

6:30 pm  Film Screening: Looking for Oum Kulthum
A film by Shirin Neshat, in collaboration with Shoja Azari 

Running Time: 90 minutes
Film Tickets: Members $8, non-Members $10

Art After Dark is free for Museum Members, and a $10 suggested donation for non-members.
Tickets to the film screening are sold separately. Seating is limited. 

Light refreshments and cash bar will be available.


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