The Doorway to Islamic Civilization weekend-long event will kick off with a beautiful film:  Islamic Art:  Mirror of the Invisible World, followed by a panel discussion including filmmaker Michael Wolfe, and Islamic art and architecture experts Phil Pasquini, Dr. Heba Mostafa, R. Hussain, Fateme Montazeri, and Arash Shirinbab.  The panel discussion will be followed by live music by the Aswat Ensemble and refreshments.

Film Showing:  Islamic Art:  Mirror of the Invisible World
Date:  Friday, November 9, 2012
Time:  7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Venue:  Main Hall, ICCNC, 1433 Madison St., Oakland

Ticket price:  $5 online / $10 at the door

Film Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes

Executive Producers: Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe

Panelists:  Michael Wolfe, Dr. Heba Mostafa, R. Hussain, Fateme Montazeri, and Arash Shirinbab

About the Panelists:

Michael Wolfe is co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation and Co-Executive Producer for UPF Films. For 15 years, Wolfe was publisher of Tombouctou Books, a small press that published poetry and avant garde prose. Michael’s first books on Islam were The Hadj, a first-person travel account, and One Thousand Roads to Mecca, an anthology of 10 centuries of travelers’ writing. After September 11th, he edited Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith which won a 2003 Wilbur Award. In 1997, Wolfe hosted a televised account of the Hajj from Mecca forNightline. The program was nominated for Peabody, Emmy, George Polk, and National Press Club Awards. In 2003, Wolfe worked with CNN-International reporter Zain Verjee to produce a documentary on the Hajj. Michael is the co-director of UPF’s Hollywood engagement program, called MOST – Muslims on Screen and Television, which works with writers and producers to develop more true-to-life characters and storylines of Muslims on television and in films.

Phil Pasquini is an award winning photojournalist, artist and educator who has traveled extensively across the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for more than four decades. He is the author of the recently released book, Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

Dr. Heba Mostafa trained as an architect and architectural historian in Cairo, Egypt and Cambridge, UK.  She currently teaches Islamic art and architecture at UC Berkeley.

R. Hussain is an art historian and curator currently residing in the SF Bay Area.  Her research interests include the influence of Eastern cultures on the Italian Baroque.  She has written and lectured extensively.

Fateme Montazeri is currently earning her PhD in Islamic art.  She is the co-founder of Ziya Art Studio at Berkeley.  She has a degree in calligraphy from National Institute of Iranian Calligraphers and serveral of her tazheeb (decorative border painting) and calligraphy works have been exhibited around the Bay Area.  Visit

Arash Shirinbab is a calligrapher, and the co-founder of and principal at Ziya Art Studio.  Since 2011, he has successfully operated this studio in Berkeley by providing authentic Islamic and Persian calligraphy artwork.

About Aswat:  Aswat is the Bay Area’s premier Arab music ensemble sponsored by Zawaya. True to Zawaya’s commitment to pluralism and inclusion, Aswat is a multi-ethnic and multi-racial music ensemble that reaches out to the diverse Bay Area community with folkloric, classical, and contemporary Middle Eastern music. Aswat’s doors are open to all who want to participate in the exciting, enriching exchange between Arab Americans and other communities through the universal language of music. For more information about Aswat, please visit

About the Film:
Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is proud to present its latest documentary film, Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. This new ninety-minute film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. It explores themes such as the Word, Space, Ornament, Color and Water and presents the stories behind many great masterworks of Islamic Art and Architecture.

The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. The film also examines the unique ways in which Islamic art turns calligraphy and the written word into masterpieces and develops water into an expressive, useful art form.

Like all art, Islamic art carries with it the fundamental values and perspectives of the artists who created it as well as those who commissioned and paid for it. It incorporates the basic themes of transcendent beauty common to all creative endeavors.

Narrated by Academy Award winning performer Susan Sarandon, this dazzling documentary reveals the variety and diversity of Islamic art. It provides a window into Islamic culture and brings broad insights to the enduring themes that have propelled human history and fueled the rise of world civilization over the centuries.

To learn more about the film, please visit


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