ARTWORKS IN THE EXHIBITION
* Photo Credit: Russell Jew

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CALLIGRAPHIES IN CONVERSATION'S OPENING RECEPTION
5th Annual International Exhibition

The 5th exhibition opened on November 8, 2018 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. The reception welcomed over 100 attendees who enjoyed from different sections of the program including panel discussion, gallery tour, calligraphy demonstrations, and the special cuisine.

At the beginning of the reception, Donna K. Khorsheed, Program and Artistic Director of OACC welcomed everyone and gave a short remark on behalf of OACC. Then, Arash Shirinbab, Chief Curator of the exhibition gave a speech about the exhibition, its philosophy, its curatorial statement, and his hope for connecting different cultures and traditions through the art of writing.

* Photo Credit: Anastasia Sierra

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PANEL DISCUSSION

The panel discussion, moderated by Raeshma Razvi, Founder of Silkworm Media, touched upon the ways calligraphy, art, food, and culture have connected us in the past and present. It included a diverse set of experts and artists, Sehar Shahrzad, Jin Feng, Hanif Sadr, Forrest Lesch-Middelton, and Arash Shirinbab.

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GALLERY TOUR

Through the gallery tour, Shirinbab described the curatorial process and the philosophy behind the exhibition arrangement. He mentioned that the artworks are arranged in to 5 main sections:

  • CIRCLE AND MANDALA SECTION: The appearance of circle and mandala forms in different cultures, traditions, and calligraphy scripts
  • ABSTRACTION SECTION: Calligraphy as a medium of artistic expression; abstracting the words, letters, and calligraphy styles to create a beautiful composition
  • TRADITION SECTION: Calligraphy practice in its traditional and classic form in different cultures
  • CONVERSATION SECTION: The conversational elements in a piece that appear in the content, concept, usage of several scripts, languages, style inspirations, or calligraphy traditions
  • DANCING WORDS SECTION: The flow and movement of words through the artworks that appears in different layers
  • CROSSING BOUNDARIES SECTION: Ceramics and Calligraphy project by Shirinbab and Forrest Lesch-Middelton which meant to bring people of different communities with diverse ideas, cultures, and languages together through calligraphy, ceramics, and cuisine.

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ILLUMINATED WORDS

The “Illuminated Words” section started with a poem written and read by Donna K. Khorsheed. This section included a very diverse set of master calligraphers including Pamela Rickard for Japanese and abstract calligraphy, Jin Feng for Chinese calligraphy, Sehar Shahzad for Arabic calligraphy, Tung Ho for Vietnamese calligraphy, and Raoul Martinez for Western calligraphy.

Calligraphers had their own station and set up with supplies and elements of their culture. The lights of the room were dimmed and each of the stations were lit up with spot light. Calligraphers were inscribing simultaneously mainly with black ink on white paper while audiences walked by or sat down and viewed the act of writing. Some of the action were projecting on the large screen for audiences to see details. This event is inspired by Brody Neuenschwander’s Illuminated Letters venue.

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