Newport, RI – Newport Art Museum’s Art After Dark, which recently received the 2017 Editor’s Pick Award for Best Artsy Social Event by Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, is back on Thursday, October 11 from 5 – 9 pm. Each Art After Dark has unique programming for the whole family. This event joins the ranks of the many events and educational programs the Museum currently offers in its galleries at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Admission to Art After Dark is free for Museum members and is a $10 suggested donation for non-members.

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.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.