Friday, September 15, 2017

WorldCanvass starts its ninth season by teaming up with Hancher and its Embracing Complexity project for a multi-layered program exploring the beauty of Islamic art and the diversity within Islamic cultures. Joan Kjaer hosts the program, which moves to a new location in the heart of downtown Iowa City—MERGE, at 136 South Dubuque Street. The live show takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. on Friday, September 29, and is free and open to the public. We invite you to come at 5 and join us for a pre-show catered reception!

Our guests will discuss the great diversity that exists within Islamic cultures and traditions, ancient and modern, near and far.  We’ll examine the many aesthetic, artistic, architectural, and other elements of Islamic expression that have made their way into the global consciousness. And we’ll talk with a playwright who’s documenting the contemporary Muslim experience in Iowa.

We’ll learn about Hancher’s plans for performances, artist residencies, lectures, exhibits, outreach to Iowa schools, and community collaborations that will be part of the two-year Embracing Complexity project, made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) for the Building Bridges: Arts, Culture, and Identity program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which sought projects designed to build knowledge and appreciation for arts and culture with roots in Muslim-majority societies.

And, as a thrilling conclusion to our program and preview of their concert on September 30 at Hancher, we’ll be joined by the musical group Niyaz, described in the Huffington Post as “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music.”  They’ll share their musical vision, which is rooted in ancient poetry and Sufi mysticism, and their hopes to unite different peoples and traditions through a common humanity.


Embracing Complexity: Islamic Art and Culture

Part 1—5:30-6 p.m.

Exploring Islam and Islamic culture

Micah Ariel James—Hancher

Chuy Renteria—Hancher

Bjorn Anderson—UI School of Art and Art History

Part 2—6-6:30 p.m.

The Muslim experience in Iowa

Anne Marie Nest—UI Department of Theatre Arts

Salma Haider—UI student

Cuma Ozkan—Hancher

Part 3—6:30-7 p.m.


Loga Ramin Torkian

Azam Ali

WorldCanvass programs are recorded as audio podcasts and are available on iTunes, the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), and the WorldCanvass website. University of Iowa International Programs produces the series in partnership with MERGE, 136 South Dubuque Street. Audio production is provided by Kyle Marxen.  The appearance of Niyaz was made possible by Hancher.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Amy Green in advance at or 319-335-1433.