• CARAVAN Arts

To Lift Our Spirits: Contemplative Art

CARAVAN Board Member Jessica Wright shares her top pick.


Ogata Kōrin, Irises at Yatsuhashi (Eight Bridges), After 1709, Pair of six-panel screens; Ink and color on gold-foiled paper, 179.1 x 371.5cm


When I was a college student and an intern at the Met in NYC, I gave tours of highlights in the museum’s collection, of which this extraordinary screen was one. It was set in a dimly lit gallery, and I often returned during breaks in my day to just sit by the screens in the quiet, taking in the beautifully rendered irises on their glowing gold background. It was an oasis in the midst of a busy city and a challenging job.


The screens are held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. An earlier pair of screens featuring Irises by Ogata Kōrin are held by the Nezu Museum, and are a National Treasure of Japan. Both screens are inspired by an episode in The Tales of Ise.



Jessica Wright is a specialist in contemporary Middle Eastern art, gallerist, curator and Arabist.  She obtain her B.A. in Art History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. She was previously the gallery director and cultural coordinator for the Jerusalem Fund Gallery in Washington, DC, which focuses on exhibiting contemporary art from the Middle East, along with offering a full range of cultural programming in the form of book signings, film festivals, dance and music recitals, and other cultural events.  She most recently served as the Managing Editor at the Center for Public Justice, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

Jessica curated CARAVAN’s contemporary Coptic icon exhibition in Cairo titled “The Eternal Eye” in 2012. She has lived in Jordan and Egypt for over twenty years, and is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and two children.  She works as a freelance editor and consultant.