“I open my eyes and see myself under a tree laden with fruit that I cannot name.”

Curated by Lila Nazemian.

Storytelling is a central component of societal development across centuries and cultures. Whether used as a tool to recall history, preserve identity, or to transmit morals, it is a means for understanding and sharing human experiences. Oral traditions and the written word are perhaps the most obvious modes of communication associated with storytelling, however visual artists have equally engaged with it throughout history, and continue to do so today.

Curated by Lila Nazemian, “I open my eyes and see myself under a tree laden with fruit that I cannot name” is an exhibition entitled after a line in Sinan Antoon’s latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage, featured alongside Hadieh Shafie and Zarina, whose works are deeply embedded within narrative mediums. Through the use of paper, printing methods and orality, each artist produces works that function as allegories for sharing stories of home and of their lived experiences.

During the course of the exhibition, public programs such as artist talks between Shafie, Antoon and Nazemian will take place, in addition to poetry recitations accompanied by live music from Iran, Iraq and South Asia.

Related Events:

  • Opening Reception: Jan 16, 2020 at 6:30pm
  • Artist Talk with Hadieh Shafie and Sinan Antoon: Jan 30, 2020 at 6:30pm
  • Master Class with Hadieh Shafie: Feb 1 & 2, 2020 at 11-5pm

Center for Books Art is hosting a series of 3 seminars dedicated to Arabic type design and typography, curated by Dr. Nadine Chahine.

  • Modernity in Arabic Type Design, March 5, 2020
  • Contemporary Arabic Graphic Design, March 7, 2020
  • Technology and Heritage, March 19, 2020

The theme of the series revolves around concepts of modernity in Arabic type design, the heritage of Arabic letterforms in the context of current technologies, contemporary Arabic branding design, and the history of Arab graphic design. The series brings together renowned and award winning designers working with Arabic type, both from the US and the Middle East. The first panel discussion of the 2020 History of Art Series will be on Modernity in Arabic Type Design. The evening will feature Wael Morcos, with a talk entitled Right to Left: a Practice, Dr. Nadine Chahine discussing The Politics of Arabic Graphic Design, and Thomas Jockin, who will be presenting Two Decades of Type Directors Club Award-Winning Arabic Typefaces.

Support for Center for Book Arts’ visual arts programming is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Exhibition Views

Circular artwork on the floor made of paper scrolls. By Hadieh Safie 2020.
Circular artwork on the floor made of paper scrolls. By Hadieh Safie 2020.
Detail of Circular artwork on the floor made of paper scrolls. By Hadieh Safie 2020.
Detail of Circular artwork on the floor made of paper scrolls. By Hadieh Safie 2020.
Installation view of circular artwork on the floor and hanging artwork made of paper scrolls. By Hadieh Safie 2020.
Artworks by Zarina
Installation view of works by Hadieh Shafie and Sinan Antoon
Pages 234 and 235 of Collateral Damage by Sinan Antoon
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