Islamic Calligraphy & Book Arts

Islamic Calligraphy & Book Arts

Exhibitions

Through December 2017

Skillman Library
College Hill, Easton, PA

Community, Literacy, and Activism in Islamic Africa: The Paintings of Yelimane Fall

The calligraphic art of Yelimane Fall, a Senegalese artist and community activist, whose work reflects a vibrant West African aesthetic featuring large curvilinear Arabic letters, robust forms, and bright colors.

“Breathe for Those Who Cannot”: Remembering Al-Mutanabbi, Street of Booksellers

In March 2007, a car bomb tore through the heart of Baghdad’s historic literary district. Named after a 10th-century Iraqi poet, Abu al-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn Mutanabbi, this street on the lip of the Tigris River has been described as Baghdad’s “third lung, where the educated and students breathe.” This exhibit features recent works by book artists wishing to commemorate and celebrate the spirit of the Al-Mutanabbi Street community.

Contemporary Artists’ Books Inspired by Islamic Cultures

Works from Lafayette’s rare book collection selected because of the ways they connect with Islamic cultures. Included are the work of photographers Peter Bogardus, Steve McCurry, and Steven Verona documenting people and events in Senegal, Afghanistan, and Egypt respectively. Egyptian book artist Islam Aly is represented by four small, but highly dramatic works and Senegalese artist Abdoulaye Ndoye by a remarkable, unique volume filled with his invented calligraphy. Other works look at the Muslim immigrant experience in America and the effects of war on Iraqi women.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
by Laila Lalami

Community Reading

Ongoing

Save the Date: Laila Lalami will give the Community Reading Keynote Address on March 21, 2018.

Each summer, Lafayette invites the entire community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our neighbors in Easton and surrounding areas—to read a work of literature that we will explore together throughout the upcoming academic year.

The choice for summer 2017 is Laila Lalami’s acclaimed 2005 debut novel, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

From the publisher:

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. As four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain, author Laila Lalami asks, What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future.

“A dream of a debut, by turns troubling and glorious, angry and wise.” —Junot Diaz

Gain a little insight on the story from the author herself, add this novel to your summer reading pile, and then join us throughout the 17/18 academic year for multidisciplinary events that will provide a context for us to delve into the book’s themes together, as a community.

 

Events

Calligrapher Sultan Ali Mashhadi

The Life and Times of Calligrapher Sultan Ali Mashhadi: Arts of the Book and Literature in Late 15th-Century Herat

LECTURE

Monday
November 13, 2017
4:30 p.m.

Skillman Library
Gendebien Room
College Hill, Easton, PA

David J. Roxburgh, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Department of the History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University, speaks about the noted calligrapher of Lafayette College’s Persian Manuscript, which was produced in the city of Herat in 1515.

2017 Schlueter Lecture in the Art and History of the Book

A Thin Wall

A Thin Wall

Film and Q&A with the Filmmaker

Monday
November 13, 2017
7 p.m.

Landis Cinema at Buck Hall
219 North 3rd Street (at Snyder Street)
Easton, PA

A Thin Wall is a documentary that focuses on the partition of India in 1947 but derives lessons that are urgently relevant today. Writer and director Mara Ahmed shot the film on both sides of the border, in India and Pakistan, and infused original animation, music, and literary writing to tell a story about the memory, history, and possibility of reconciliation.

Filmmaker Mara Ahmed will join us for a Q&A session immediately after the screening.

Admission is free.

Presented by the Departments of History and Film and Media Studies.

Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi

Gallery Show

February 3 – April 7, 2018

Williams Center Gallery
Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

Lalla Essaydi isn’t afraid to appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition in order to invite viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology. Her sumptuous explorations of the image of woman in Islamic society address the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. As Essaydi puts it, “In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses—as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.”

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Ping Chong + Company
Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Theater

Friday
February 9, 2018
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

With stark simplicity and a narrative that feels remarkably relevant to the moment, Beyond Sacred stages the personal and complex stories of young Muslim New Yorkers at a time of increasing Islamophobia. Created by Ping Chong + Company, this interview-based theater production illuminates the daily experiences of individuals who reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, yet share the commonality of coming of age after 9/11 and of being the “other” in America. A poignant new work, and “a lesson in human understanding, drawn from real lives” (The New York Times).

Tickets are available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Disgraced

Disgraced

Theater

February 23–24, March 1–3, 2018
7:30 p.m.
February 25
2:00 p.m.

Weiss Theater
Buck Hall
219 North 3rd Street (at Snyder Street)
Easton, PA

Liberal pieties clash violently with starkly conservative attitudes on the subjects of religion, national identity, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, immigration, racial profiling, and the state of Israel in this riveting dissection of scraping away the veneer of civilized behavior in our troubled times. Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Written by Ayad Akhtar. Directed by Suzanne Westfall.

Tickets available online.

Niyaz

Niyaz
The Fourth Light Project

Concert

Wednesday
April 11, 2018
8 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
317 Hamilton Street (at High Street)
College Hill, Easton, PA

A heady blend of acoustic and electronic, East and West, poetry and politics, Niyaz’s richly textured arrangements, sweeping choruses, and velvety vocals—courtesy of front woman Azam Ali—take inspiration from Sufi poetry, Middle Eastern folk music, and the musicians’ experiences as 21st-century global citizens. It’s “Los Angeles meets New Delhi meets Tehran,” notes NPR, yet The Fourth Light Project is a world unto itself—a modern-day global trance experience, featuring one of the first female whirling dervishes and hypnotic body-mapping projections that respond to sound and movement in real time.

Tickets available from July 1 at the Williams Center for the Arts.

About

Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices Within Contemporary Muslim Cultures

Lafayette College and the Williams Center for the Arts embark on a multidisciplinary project that explores a variety of Muslim artistic expressions.

Tapestries: Voices Within Contemporary Muslim Cultures features mainstage performances at the Williams Center and related programs throughout campus that focus on arts and culture with roots in Muslim-majority regions of the world. In shared experiences between artists and audiences, Tapestries offers opportunities for all of us to increase our knowledge and understanding, engage with new cultural and artistic forms, and cultivate a sense of global identity.

We invite everyone—students; faculty; staff; residents of Easton, the Lehigh Valley, and the surrounding areas; travelers just passing through—to join us for concerts, plays, gallery exhibitions, films, lectures, roundtable discussions, and more. Events will be added continually throughout 2017 and 2018 and announced on this website as details become available. Please join us!

Tapestries is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Building Bridges: Arts, Culture, and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic ArtRead more about the Building Bridges program here.