Dhea Fenjan Alshaher, an Islamic calligrapher, will visit The College of St. Scholastica as a part of The Exploration of Sacred Text Series. Alshaher’s presentation will be in three sessions. He will discuss the cultural significance of Islamic calligraphy in an evening demonstration on campus and perform his calligraphy writing during two other sessions. All events are free and open to the public.
Alshaher’s demonstration of work will be from 2 – 4 p.m. Thursday, March 31, and from 10 a.m. – noon Friday, April 1. Both events will be in the Student Union in Tower Hall on campus.
He will give a presentation on the historical significance behind calligraphy, both in Islamic schools and in Islamic culture, at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 31 in Somers Hall on campus.
His visit is being called “Sacred Language: Writing the Book (part 1).”
Alshaher studied calligraphy as a young man at school and in a mosque. He was later apprenticed to two Arabic calligraphy masters while a political prisoner in Iraq. He escaped to a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia, where he fully developed his gift as a social and political voice for the refugees, before coming to the United States. His work decorates the walls of mosques in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Dearborn, MI.
The Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum at The College of St. Scholastica is sponsoring the series. The Forum promotes understanding, respect and peace among the diversity of faith communities in the Northland through sustained cross-cultural discussion, shared study, and collaborative projects and events.
Upcoming topics in this series are listed below. They are free and open to the public. All lectures are on campus. Specific times and locations will be announced closer to the date of each event not specified.
“Sacred Language: Writing the Book (part 2)” will be held Wednesday, April 6 – Friday, April 8. The College will host an artist-in-residence: Torah scriber Julie Seltzer of San Francisco. Seltzer will work, answer questions, give informal talks, visit classes, and offer workshops.
“After the Book: Sacred Text in a Postmodern World” will be held 7 p.m. Sunday, April 17, Mitchell Auditorium.
The closing talk of the series will be given by Mark Taylor, chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University in New York City. A leading figure in debates about post-modernism, Taylor will speak on the future of religious texts, including considerations around art, postmodernism, community, and technology.