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Arash Shirinbab collaborating with the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California

Award: $40,000 Traditional Arts Grant awarded in 2015

To premiere: October 27-28, 2017

Calligrapher Arash Shirinbab, ceramicist Forrest Lesch-Middelton, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California are exploring themes of hospitality, morality, and justice through calligraphy-inscribed ceramics inspired by the Persian Nishapur tradition. The artists will create a series of dishes, vessels, and tiles via traditional ceramics and calligraphy practices that convey messages that come from sources ranging from traditional Sufi poetry to contemporary Muslim-American hip-hop. At a culminating event at the cultural center, guests will be served food on some of the dishes, illustrating the art of hospitality at the heart of Islamic culture.

After trying different calligraphy styles for more than 15 years, in 2008, Arash Shirinbab began studying under masters of the Iranian Calligraphists Association, gaining the honor to learn Thuluth from master Hosseini Garakani. He also trained in Iran under maestro S.M Vahid Mousavi Jazayeri. Shirinbab has participated in 60 gallery and museum exhibitions in the United States and internationally.

Forrest Lesch-Middleton began working in clay at age 14 and studied clay, glass, and neon at Alfred University. He has held many guest artist/residency positions.

The Islamic Cultural Center, an independent nonprofit organization serving the Muslim-American and greater Bay Area communities, provides a dynamic space for exchanging ideas about Islam through art, culture, and education. The project will enable the Center to continue already significant programing investments in calligraphy and sacred art.