"Reverberating Echoes" Continues

From the Spring 2017 issue of Currents
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The Center for the Arts & Religion presents
Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art
Doug Adams Gallery, 2465 Ridge Rd., Berkeley
Open through May 26 | Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 10am-3pm

by Elizabeth Peña

Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art, curated by Carol Bier (Visiting Scholar, Center for Islamic Studies), presents work by seven artists of diverse backgrounds, who share a common source of inspiration in Islamic visual culture. Chris Palmer folds single sheets of silk into intricate patterned displays, drawing from both Islamic geometric motifs and Japanese paper-folding tradition; Nazanin Hedayat Munroe reflects on her Persian heritage with an installation about poetry and destiny; and Manzar Rassouli’s featured works demonstrate her shift from highlighting beauty to breaking with tradition. Some visitors are fascinated by Phil Webster’s 3-D printed lamp, while others are moved by the Arabic text in Mamoun Sakkal’s commercial prints. Guests are drawn to Nathan Voirol’s stunning textiles and drawings, and to Hooman Koliji’s light-filled architectural drawings.

Despite the artists’ different backgrounds, subjects, and working methods and materials, their artworks seem to call across the gallery space, often in unexpected ways. Visitors give life to the show by making connections and contributing their own perspectives. We are constantly reminded that the arts can connect and sustain us across traditions, cultures, and faiths, a lesson that bears repeating in these troubled times.

Reverberating Echoes has welcomed more than 275 visitors, hosted six classes from the GTU and UC Berkeley, and presented five public programs—all in the exhibition’s first six weeks! Upcoming programs include:

·         April 4, 5-7pm, “Aesthetics & the Divine: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives,” featuring Dr. Francesco Spagnolo (Magnes Collection, UC Berkeley) and Carol Bier. Co-sponsored by CJS and CIS

·         April 9, 2-4pm, Gallery Dialogue: Carol Bier in conversation with Dr. Rossitza Schroeder (Art History, PSR and CARe)

·         May 21, 2-4pm, Gallery Dialogue: Carol Bier in conversation with Dr. Bob Russell (CTNS)

An exhibition catalog, with essays by Carol Bier, biographies of the artists, and photographs of the artworks, is available for purchase through the Zaytuna College bookstore.