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July 6 @ 11:00 am - August 3 @ 1:00 pm

Join us for a 5 part course with DC-based Arabic calligraphist Aiyah Sibay.

Experience the ancient art of Arabic Calligraphy and its healing qualities. Each calligraphic session begins with somatic breathwork and meditation. You will then be led through exercises that will teach you the technical foundations of Arabic calligraphy while also allowing you to explore the craft’s artistic qualities. This workshop offers a feminine approach to a predominantly masculine medium, so we will learn the basics of a traditional art form in a nontraditional manner. We’ll end with a reading of poetry from the MENA region and instructions for long-term practice for anyone wishing to continue!


What makes calligraphy a healing art?

Through this medium, we learn to understand and speak the language of our hands. Calligraphy demands a very particular form of engagement, and much of our emotions are released through our hands. In each workshop, I work closely with each artist, drawing attention to their hands and manner of moving and holding the calligraphic pen. We also work with natural material (reed) imported from the Middle East and grown by the river, which lends itself to the slow healing process that unfolds in calligraphy. My students and I have used calligraphy to work through very difficult periods of our lives, and I believe some may find this class particularly helpful if they are passing through a challenging time.

Aiyah’s work is primarily invested in the inherited politics of the Arab women and her position in the world. As a practicing Arabic calligraphist, I make a conscious effort to introduce more women to what has largely been a male-dominated practice. I have designed and facilitated experimental Arabic calligraphy workshops combining Audre Lorde’s teachings on the “erotic source of knowledge” with meditation, somatic breathwork, and calligraphy. Through my own calligraphic practice, I am seeking to contribute to a stronger female presence in calligraphy and introduce aspects of femininity, sensuality, and spirituality into an art form that has been predominantly formal and masculine in its practice. My calligraphy travels into various mediums (film, photography, painting, poetry, and performance). It seeks to establish calligraphy as an expansive art form with a broad range of narrative potentials and healing qualities.
Materials Cost: $15
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July 6 @ 11:00 am
August 3 @ 1:00 pm
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