Wow, What a Lineup!

World-renowned artists come to campus to work with students in 2017.

This winter the College of Arts and Sciences has hosted a dynamite series of artists to campus: Bosnian-born painter Amer Kobaslija, award-winning actress Anna Deavere Smith, and global music project The Silk Road Ensemble.

As Frank Sinatra Artists in Residence, Smith and Silk Road Ensemble have been working closely with students. Smith will host public lectures and engage photography and creative writing students in her process, culminating in a spring quarter exhibition in the de Saisset Museum.

The West Wing actress and MacArthur Fellow will also oversee and co-direct a winter quarter artistic production by students.

“One of the reasons why it interested me to come here … is that, I’m very interested in artists and how you spark a moral imagination,” Deveare Smith said at a Q&A held on campus in January. “I have every expectation that my being here will actually be an extraordinary opportunity for me to learn more about social justice.”

Musicians from Silk Road Ensemble have also been spending time with students, faculty, and the community—performing at Music at Noon and a formal concert, with more in store in May.

“The College is excited to welcome dynamic performers and educators to share their talent and expertise with our students and the greater Santa Clara community,” said Debbie Tahmassebi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Kobaslija arrives on campus in March to lecture and work with students, but you can check out his work now. An exhibit featuring his paintings opened in the gallery of the new Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building in January.

This survey of Kobaslija’s widely exhibited work includes some of the disquieting human-altered landscapes from his ongoing Florida Series, with their seagulls and sunsets and landfill; Vermeer-like pictures of humble custodial closets and empty public bathrooms; and works from his potent “100 Views of Kesennuma” series, which nods to “100 Views of Mount Fuji” by the great late-18th–early-19th-century Japanese artist Hokusai, whose woodblock prints influenced Kobaslija’s sense of pictorial space and simultaneous use of multiple points of view.

“Black Smoke” from the Tsunami Series, 2011. Photo courtesy Amer Kobaslija

“I wanted to create a chronicle, to paint the devastation, cleanup and rebirth,” said the artist. “It was my way of engaging. Being from Bosnia, a person who experienced a different kind of devastation and tragedy—one caused by human hand, one caused by nature—it was my way of saying I care. I’m looking for meaning through the act of painting.” Read more about Kobaslija’s exhibition here.

post-image Grammy Award winning Silk Road Ensemble will perform and work with students on campus in 2017. View full image Photo by Charles Barry
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