“Calligraphies in Conversation” 5th International Exhibition Fosters a Dialogue Between Different Communities and Cultures through the Art of Writing

Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 Ninth Street, Suite 290, Oakland, CA 94607
The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public. All are welcome.
Exhibition Dates: November 8, 2018 – January 16, 2019. Open during OACC’s regular hours. To check the hours please visit

On Thursday, November 8, at 5:30- 9 p.m. at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC), the international calligraphy exhibition “Calligraphies in Conversation” opened with a public reception. The exhibition is one of the few of its kind exploring connections between calligraphy traditions and practices from different cultures and languages through the world. OACC is collaborating with the partner organization Ziya Art Center to create bridges between people in San Francisco Bay Area and beyond through this unique, multicultural venue.

Says Chief Curator of the exhibition, Arash Shirinbab, “Calligraphies in Conversation encompasses an annual group exhibition and a series of public venues focusing on initiating a meaningful conversation between different cultures, languages, and scripts existed in local communities and beyond through the art of writing and calligraphy. Besides endorsing classic calligraphy, this exhibition nurtures innovative and contemporary ways of expressing concerns, stories, and memories by utilizing letters and transforming them through non-traditional medium such as installation, ceramics, textile art, typography, digital art, video, performance, and mixed media.”

Donna K. Khorsheed, Program and Artistic Director of OACC mentions “we commonly hear about examples--in the present and throughout history--of people creating physical, social, political, and religious boundaries intended to separate and divide; however, it is vitally important to create and raise awareness of the many instances of people crossing these boundaries to engage with each other and celebrate a shared humanity. Calligraphies in Conversation intends to do so by bringing diverse communities of the Bay Area together to share their culture and stories through the art of writing and calligraphy.”

“Calligraphies in Conversation” exhibition supports artists locally and provides them with an exceptional platform to express their creative work. It has also been grabbing the attention of national and international community of calligraphers and artists. Artists and calligraphers from over 10 states in the US and over 15 countries around the world have been participating in this exhibition in the past, some being world acclaimed and museum calligraphers.

In order to directly support the work of innovative and emerging local artists, the 2018 “Calligraphies in Conversation” has developed a new component. We are proud to initiate an artist residency with 2 local award-winning artists, Arash Shirinbab and Forrest Lesch-Middelton who will create a new provoking calligraphy-ceramics body of work. Their project, “Crossing Boundaries”, funded by East Bay Fund for Artists at the East Bay Community Foundation and Neda Nobari Foundation, will feature ceramics, food, calligraphy, performance, installation and storytelling that explores cultural exchanges. They will perform a “Diversity Dinner” ceremony on November 30, 2018 at OACC in which the community gathers and shares culturally significant food from local chefs together, eating from the dishes created for this project. Eating off of the art/ceramics created, the stories and the writing on the vessels reveal themselves and spark new thoughts, conversations, and stories.

What to Expect at the 5th Calligraphies in Conversation Exhibition

Over 70 artworks will be on display from around the world including China, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, and United States. Curated by Arash Shirinbab, curatorial team of Calligraphies in Conversation, and Donna K. Khorsheed, Program and Artistic Director of OACC.

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director

The full list of participating calligraphers and artists include: 2flui Simon Cyril, Achyut Palav, Akshaya Thombre, Arash Shirinbab & Forrest Lesch-Middelton, Bruno Riva & Katia Bagnoli, Charlotte Chan, Chen Forng-Shean, Chris Paschke, Christine Dabadie-Fabreguettes, Claire Kito, Debra Self, Elisabeth Burgun, Fatemeh Ojji, Feng Jin, Guntur Darmawan, Hamidreza Safizadeh, Hoonaz Afaghi, Janet Martorello, Jin Feng, Katie Leavens, Kristian Kabuay, Leesette Turner, Leon Sun, Marcy Robinson, Meredith Jane Klein, Mohammed Aiyyoob Akram, MohammadReza Dehshiri, Mok Kam Cheung, Monica Dengo, Motoko Kamada, Naomi Teplow, Nikola Klanicova, Pamela Rickard, Prabhakar Bhosale, Raoul Martinez, Renee Owen, Rita Planchon, Ronald Y. Nakasone, Rupali Dhamane, Rutu Palav, Salma Arastu, Salva Rasool, Sehar Shahzad, Sherrie Lovler, Shubhangi Gade, Stefan Arteni, Susan Duhan Felix & Refa1, Susan Frame, Takako Matoba, Tashi Mannox, Thomas Ingmire, Tung Ho, Virginie Cadart Travadel

Detail of Opening Reception: November 8, 2018, 5:30 – 9 p.m. 

  • 5:30: Opening of the gallery
  • 6 – 6:45: Panel discussion with master calligraphers and guest chef Hanif Sadr on Asian multicultural calligraphy, arts, and cuisine
  • 6:45 – 7:30: Curator’s tour, gallery visit, and refreshments 
  • 7:30 – 8:30: Illuminated Words calligraphy demonstrations with master calligraphers including Pamela Rickard for Japanese calligraphy, Jin Feng for Chinese calligraphy, Sehar Shahzad for Arabic calligraphy, Tung Ho for Vietnamese calligraphy, and Raoul Martinez for Western calligraphy
  • 8:30 – 9: Gallery visit and closing

Special Program at the Opening Reception on November 8, 2018,

With "Illuminated Words", Enjoy Multicultural Calligraphy Demonstrations by Masters:
Pamela Rickard: Japanese Calligraphy

Jin Feng: Chinese Calligraphy

Sehar Shahzad: Arabic Calligraphy

Tung Ho: Vietnamese Calligraphy

Raoul Martinez: Western Calligraphy

"Illuminated Words": Calligraphy demonstrations by 5 masters and calligraphers in different traditions and scripts from 7:30 - 8:30 pm. Calligraphers will have their station/table and set up. The lights of the room will be dimmed and each of the calligrapher stations will be lit up with spot light. Calligraphers will be inscribing simultaneously mainly with black ink on white paper while audiences walk by or seat down and view the act of writing. This event is inspired by Brody Neuenschwander’s Illuminated Letters venue.

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director