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Self-Portrait as Beni (“I Dream Again of Benin”)

Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning

February 1, 2021 | Laurel Humble

For more information or to register, please call 404-733-5051 or email

Tuesdays, February 9–March 16, 1–2 p.m.

This six-week course accompanies the exhibition Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands, offering an introduction to Persian art with examples from this extraordinary and wide-ranging collection. Each week will center on one of the six exhibition themes, among which Faith and Piety are expressed through a Qur’an page from the first centuries of Islam, Banquets and Battles through illustrations to the Iranian national epic the Shahnama, and Earth and Nature through a monumental carpet woven in a fantastical garden theme. This class will be held via Zoom.

Margaret Squires is a PhD candidate at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where her research focuses on the history of the Persian carpet in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From 2017 to 2020, she worked in the Art of the Islamic Worlds Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she played an active role in preparations for the Bestowing Beauty exhibition and contributed to the accompanying catalogue.

$180 for members, $240 for not-yet-members


Feline, Iran, nineteenth century, cast bronze, Hossein Afshar Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Wednesdays, February 10, 17, 24, and March 3, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Explore mindfulness practices and artworks from the High’s collection and special exhibitions from the comfort of your home. These sessions employ such techniques as close looking and conscious breathing to facilitate engagement and to help you become more attuned to your inner world. Each week focuses on a single work of art, prompting self-reflection and discussion to build connection to yourself, the artwork, and each other. These sessions are held via Zoom.

Masterworks and Mindfulness is led by Charisse M. Williams, a leadership coach, teacher, and speaker who helps individuals and teams achieve their goals and thrive. In 2015, her personal health and wellness journey led her to become a certified yoga teacher, and she now approaches all her work through a mindfulness lens. Charisse is currently writing her first book, Thriving While Black, which will be published by New Degree Press in 2021.

$36 for members, $48 for not-yet-members for series
$12 for members, $16 for not-yet-members per session

Wednesdays, April 28–June 2, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Drawing inspiration from the High’s Photography collection, including works on view in Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection, this six-week art-making course will focus on developing a small body of photographic work with a smartphone. Participants will make their own distinctive imagery and use it to tell a unique story, with special attention to portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and other types of images. Through this course, participants will develop an applied understanding and control of visual grammar and formal elements of photography, find new sources of inspiration, hone their visual storytelling skills, and explore how a smartphone can be used to make thought-provoking photographs.

Nydia Blas is a visual artist who grew up in Ithaca, New York, and currently resides in Atlanta. She holds a BS from Ithaca College and an MFA from Syracuse University in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Spelman College in Atlanta. She also works as a freelance photographer for such clients as The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker.

$180 for members, $240 for not-yet-members

Top: David Driskell (American, 1931–2020), Self-Portrait as Beni (“I Dream Again of Benin”) (detail), 1974, egg tempera, gouache, and collage, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Fund, 2015.74. © Estate of David C. Driskell, courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.