Speaker: Michael Wolfe
When: Saturday February 1, 2014
Where: Shangri La

The Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, has captured the descriptive imagination of visual artists, craftsmen, travel writers, bureaucrats and rulers almost since its inception in 632 AD. Beginning with Medieval maps depicting Mecca as the center of the world, and incorporating tile work, ceramics, tapestry and carpets, architectural niches, curtains, embroidery, book illustrations, plain line drawings and, since the 19th century, lithography and photography, the images of ritual sites and sacred monuments in Mecca make the Muslim pilgrimage one of the most richly represented events in human history. Author and filmmaker Michael Wolfe, who has performed the Hajj several times, will lead us through a sample slideshow of this impressive visual record, providing historical commentary and personal asides.

Michael Wolfe, a poet, author and filmmaker, is President and Executive Producer of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit documentary and media organization. He has co-produced nine award-winning documentaries on Muslim themes. In 1997, Wolfe was the first American TV journalist to report live from Mecca during the Hajj. In 2003, he worked with CNN International to produce a half-hour Hajj documentary. His journalism has been nominated for Peabody, Emmy, George Polk and National Press Club Awards and he has won awards from the Society for American Travel Writers, the Academy of American Poets, and the Wilbur Prize for Best Book on a Religious Theme. He holds a degree in Classics from Wesleyan University.

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