Departmental Events

Exhibit: Letters – How Artists Reimagined Language in the Age of Decolonization

Letters exhibition

5:00 pm | 3/15/2023 | Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Doe Library (North entrance) | Until 6:30 pm | 3/15/2023

Letters | الحروف How Artists Reimagined Language in the Age of Decolonization

Letters | الحروف How Artists Reimagined Language in the Age of Decolonization is on exhibit in Doe Library’s Bernice Layne Brown Gallery from March 13 until Aug. 31, 2023. How have modern artists in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia made use of their inheritance of a visual cache of Arabic signs and letter-forms, and with what meanings? This exhibition, curated by students in the seminar History of Art 192Cu, “Exhibiting Calligraphic Modernism,” in collaboration with the Library, explores work by dozens of artists in multiple media, from poster design to painting, mosaic, poetry, and animation. A shared backdrop to the artwork on display are the decolonization processes and liberation struggles taking place across Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, which sparked desires to create cultural futures in resistance to dominant imperial values and official language policies.

Exhibit Curators: Drew Atkins, Riana Azevedo, Lynn Cunningham, Sharan Dulai, Eva Elfishawy, Mohamed Hamed, Teddi Haynes, Murtaza Hiraj, Viv Kammerer, Shanti Knutzen, Marissa Lee, Anneka Lenssen, Val Machado, Jasmine Nadal-Chung, Reyansh Sathishkumar, A. Wara, Alice Xie, Jinyu Xu, Suri Zheng, and Hayley Zupancic

Exhibit dates: March 13 to Aug. 31, 2023

Location: Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Doe Library

Opening reception

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 5-6:30 p.m.

Morrison Library

The reception will feature brief remarks by members of the curatorial team. Tours of the exhibition will be led by student-curators beginning at 5:45 p.m. Food and drinks will be served.

A pre-reception event will take place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in 308A Doe Library, and will include  a presentation and Arabic calligraphy workshop by the Bay Area-based calligrapher Zubair Simab. Participants will have an opportunity to try writing Arabic letters with a prepared pen and ink.

There are 40 slots available for the workshop. Please register here:

Both of these events are open to the public.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Pre-reception calligraphy workshop

2:30-4:30 p.m. 

308A Doe Library


Exhibit reception and tours

5-6:30 p.m.

Morrison Library (101 Doe Library)

If you require an accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact Amber Lawrence at or 510-459-9108 at least 7-10 days in advance of the program.

Exhibit reception planning committee:

Lynn Cunningham

Amber Lawrence

Anneka Lenssen

Mohamed Hamed

Talk in Conjunction


The Culture of the Copy: Articulations of Painting in the late Ottoman Empire and Early Republican Turkey

Prof. Duygu Demir (Sabancı University)

Thursday, March 16, 2023, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

308A Doe Library

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