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Pictures That Speak: Word Art from Ancient “Alphabets”

Studio Arts Workshop

Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Code: 1K00KG

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Work by instructor Joanne Wasserman

Long before alphabets as we know them were used to inscribe messages in stone or inked on papyrus, ancient civilizations developed a myriad of visual languages. They include the pictures, word signs, and letterforms used in Egypt and Mesopotamia; hieroglyphics from Egyptian North Africa; and cuneiform script from Sumer, Babylon, and other areas of the Mideast.

Beyond their function in communicating, these precursors to modern alphabets often had a graphic beauty and visual elegance that can serve as inspiration for artists today. In this time-travelling workshop, learn to draw and paint pictures that actually spell words—using the oldest syllabaries, alphabet signs, and symbols in the world. The instructor offers guidance and picture-writing examples.

All supplies are provided.

Instructor: Joanne Wasserman

One 5-hour session


S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3040
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)