Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016

Photo Credit: Matt Pinney, A Day at Sea, oil on canvas, 2016, 60" x 48"
Photo Credit: Matt Pinney, A Day at Sea, oil on canvas, 2016, 60″ x 48″

The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College begins the 2016 exhibition season with the group visual art exhibit, Global Narratives – Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, Friday, Jan. 29 to Sunday, March 13, with an artists’ reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12.

The arts are ambassadors for culture. It is in the food, the art and especially the stories that one can gain insight and affinity toward a place, whether remembered, forgotten, actual or constructed. The arts can translate entire cultures and histories on the shoulders of stories, oral or written, and it is through the telling of stories that information can be shared and passed from one generation to another.

The Margaret W. & Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery announces the exhibit: “Storytelling/Global Narratives” of regional artists co-curated by Matt Pinney and Nikki Brugnoli-Whipkey. “Storytelling/Global Narratives” is part of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016 ­– a book, arts and cultural festival planned for January through March throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Exhibits, programs and events will commemorate the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s historic bookselling street and celebrate the free exchange of ideas and knowledge and to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and with people at home and abroad who are unable to make their voices heard.

The Northern Virginia Community College ambassador and Manassas Campus Assistant Arts Professor Pinney says of the festival, “I became involved with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016 because of my love for the lands and cultures of people from all over the world. We rely on the accessibility of storytelling to bridge the incomprehensible gaps, biases and differences that seek to keep us apart. The bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad in 2007 represents the worst kind of repression, one that attempts to destroy our common humanity and set us apart.

“It is through AMSSH DC 2016’s programming that the unique voices of all the people whose right to express themselves has been curtailed can stand on a larger stage, with a louder microphone, and speak.”

The Fisher Art Gallery is located on the upper level of the Schlesinger Center, and is named for local artist Margaret “Peggy” Fisher and her late husband, Joseph Fisher. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and during performances. For more information about the cultural festival visit Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016.

For more on upcoming 2016 shows at the Schlesinger and Fisher Galleries, go here.


Exhibition of Assemblages by Zofie Lang
Friday, April 3 – Sunday, May 17, 2015
Opening Reception Saturday, April 18th, 6-8pm

Certain narratives, such as those in fairy tales, have existed for millennia and maintain a grip on our collective imagination. They are refreshed and reiterated, showing up in popular culture in both familiar and novel ways; similar themes also emerge across cultures and generations. Using photography, digital photomontage, and found object assemblage, Zofie Lang’s work reconstructs these narratives visually by extracting their key elements. Zofie examines the underlying meaning of narratives, including the fairy tales she remembers her Polish grandmother telling her as a child and literature that has inspired her. Her assemblages creates new layers of meaning, consisting of a mix of nostalgia and contemplation of our present popular culture.

The original type cases in Zofie’s work reference literary works that were printed in the late 19th and early 20th century, while vintage dollhouse drawers are a nod to the tender age when impressions were first formed through stories.

“Drawers play a central role in my pieces, which harkens back to my ongoing curiosity about their contents, particularly when seeing them shut. While taking advantage of their compartmentalizing function, in my work I avoid using them to hide away by intentionally exposing their content to the viewer.”

“Compartmentalized” is Zofie’s first solo exhibit in the Washington DC Metro Area. She has shown extensively in various group shows in the DC Metro region including at the MFA Circle Gallery, Anacostia Art Center, Black Rock Center for the Arts, and various venues through the WPA.