October 2012 The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
The Jerusalem Fund Gallery hosts its first exhibit by Oregon artist Anne Barber-Shams, Mihrab: Metaphorical Portal, opening on September 14, 2012 and running through October 26.
Barber-Shams explores the depths of the mihrab, which she translates as meaning refuge, and its significance in the three monotheistic traditions of Andalusian Spain.
Eleven acrylic paintings on paper, embellished with gold leaf, study the evocative shapes of doorway, gate, arch and niche—literal architectural and metaphorical portals from one place to another. The artist sees themihrab as a portal uniting the ancient common ground found during the Andalusian period, where for 700 years the three monotheistic cultures of Muslims, Christians and Jews intermingled and flourished, bringing forth architectural, artistic, scientific and scholarly riches. Barber-Shams pairs these paintings with nine odes by Muslim, Christian and Jewish poets of the period, calligraphed in metal leaf on marbelized Mylar (strong polyester film). She sees the odes as seeds of peace created during a turbulent time, the Dark Ages of Northern Europe contemporaneous with the liberal cultural understanding of the Golden Age in the south.
Anne Barber-Shams studied painting and glass in Venice and Padua, Italy, as well as earning degrees in art in California and Oregon. She first became involved with the situation in Palestine in 2001, and has since participated in numerous solo and group shows, concentrating on the subjects of building bridges to peace through art.
For more information please visit www. the jerusalemfund.org. —Dagmar Painter