Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

IN/VISIBLE Art Exhibition Inaugurates Arab American National Museum

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

IN/VISIBLE Art Exhibition Inaugurates Arab American National Museum

Article excerpt

IN/VISIBLE Art Exhibition Inaugurates Arab American National Museum

Since its inauguration in early May, the Arab American National Museum has hosted events that aim to educate the community on the impact and contributions of Arab Americans throughout American history. The May 19 opening of the art exhibition IN/VISIBLE and threeday symposium on "Exploring New Forms and Meanings: the Intersection of Audience, Ideas and Art" exemplified the museum's dedication to providing outlets through which Arab Americans can convey their identity and experiences to the greater community.

Currently on display until Oct. 30, IN/VISIBLE is an inspiring showcase of art by first- and second-generation Arab Americans. The first of its kind, the exhibit features the works of Yasser Aggour, Rheim Alkadhi, Doris Bittar, Abdelali Dahrouch, Mariam Ghani, John Halaka, Nabila Hilmi, Emily Jacir, Mohammad O. Khalil, Amina Mansour, Sumayyah Samaha, Athir Shayota, Helen Zughaib and Afaf Zurayk. Together, their pieces successfully communicate the realities and concerns of Arab Americans, while defying media stereotypes that continue to suppress the Arab-American voice.

The IN/VISIBLE artists employ a range of media-including film, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, poetry and sculpture-and provide individual reflections on such issues as family, love, immigration, globalization, war, political conflict and identity.

The opening of IN/VISIBLE corresponded with the art symposium designed to initiate dialogue between ArabAmerican artists, scholars and the community. The art exhibit, panel discussions, art presentations and film screenings all were part of the May 19-21 event that inspired discussions concerning the effectiveness of art on the greater community and the exploration of identity and experience.

The works included in the exhibit are diverse in appearance and media, yet all are thought-provoking. Each artist engages the viewer with journeys of identifying the past, while communicating one's identity and looking to the future. IN/VISIBLE projects a universality that is communicated through each piece through an examination of various aspects of the human condition.

Artist Mariam Ghani explores issues of identity in Points of Proof, 2005, a video, Web site and mixed media installation based on a database generated by a single question: "If someone questioned your right to call yourself an American, what is the one story, object, image or document you would offer as your proof?" The result is a fascinating array of responses by Arabs and Arab Americans in the Detroit area. …

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