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Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S.
Curated by Maymanah Farhat. On view September 10 – November 17, 2021
Middle East Institute
1763 N St. NW, Washington D.C. 20036

Artists belonging to the Arab Diaspora in the United States have contributed to the development of American art since the early twentieth century, yet the story of this artistic community has rarely been considered. Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S. seeks to unearth this history by identifying some of the aesthetic threads that connect a diverse, multigenerational group of artists, thus offering a template for future scholarship.

One of the most prominent themes explored by Arab American and U.S based Arab artists over the last seventy-five years has been the process of migration and the state of in-betweenness that often results. Beginning with the work of Kahlil Gibran, a member of the earliest known Arab American creative community, the exhibition explores how artists have used concepts like third spaces, community building, hybridity, and memory formation in works that allude to the complexities of migration, including invisibility, alienation, intergenerational trauma, and changing identities.

Featured artists are Etel Adnan, Sama Alshaibi, Zeina Barakeh, Kamal Boullata, Huguette Caland, Yasmine Nasser Diaz, Dahlia Elsayed, Kahlil Gibran, Sherin Guirguis, Helen Khal, John Halaka, Jackie Milad, Mohammed Omar Khalil, Zeinab Saab, Jacqueline Reem Salloum, Nazar Yahya, and Helen Zughaib.


 


The Good and The True at Paul Robeson Galleries
September 1 – November 22
About: Text and images have been interconnected in art for thousands of years.  Egyptian hieroglyphics circa 3200BC were a pictorial language painted on papyrus to tell stories about society.  In the 13th to 15th centuries illuminated manuscripts from were made with animal skins to tell stories about religion or rulers.  Nowadays, artists use text in various forms (printed, calligraphic and pictorial forms), to make works which communicate their ideas about the world.  Language and aesthetic properties are in dialogue with one another, refuting or reinforcing, the message(s) of the work.

 


Photo by Tom Dempsey

Chart Towards the Charms is on view June 5-Sept 13 at Pier 1, 70th St & Hudson River Walk in Riverside Park. Part of Re:Growth curated by Karin Bravin

The exhibition features over 20 site specific artist projects, read more about my project and others at this wonderful NY Times review of the show by Hilarie M. Sheets.



Review in Sculpture Magazine, Nov/Dec 2020 issue
Written by Sarah Tanguy
A really thoughtful review of Which Yesterday Is Tomorrow? at Transformer Gallery, Washington DC


Solo Exhibition: Common Language
March 17 – April 17, 2020
Reception: March 24, 4:30 – 7:30pm
Lemmerman Gallery, NJCU
Hepburn Hall, Room 323
2039 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305

Common Language presents a series of works on paper and a site-specific ceramic installation by artist Dahlia Elsayed. Her allegorical landscapes use a symbolic vocabulary rooted in cartography, comics, and cosmology. Through Elsayed’s visual narrative, the exhibition explores the possibilities of transcultural visual communication, the potentials and limits of language, and the ways in which image and text modify each other for alternative meanings.


Which Yesterday is Tomorrow?
Dahlia Elsayed & Andrew Demirjian
March 14 – April 25, 2020
Transformer Gallery, 1404 P Street NW Washington, DC
Opening Reception: March 14th, 5-8pm
Holding Patterns: April 4th, 2-4pm
Cultures in Contact: April 25th, 2-4pm
Pre-Sunset Pause: Every Thursday, 4-6pm
Transformer is proud to present Which Yesterday Is Tomorrow?, a rest stop for the future based on the past, by artists Dahlia Elsayed and Andrew Demirjian. This multi-sensory installation reimagines the Silk Road caravanserai as a potential site for the exchange of ideas and culture.
By drawing upon the vocabulary of social and sacred architecture from Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA), Elsayed and Demirjian – both diasporic artists from this region – create a space for engagement, pause, and reflection. Transformer’s interior is completely reimagined – the walls, floors, and ceilings are embellished with vibrant textiles, rugs, and furnishings; a spatialized soundtrack composed of deconstructed folk instruments, and fragrant mists and Turkish coffee envelops the air. Elsayed and Demirjian create an alternate world intended to reconnect visitors with the senses, rituals, and mythologies that have been diminished in an age dominated by relentless commerce and time scarcity.
In a region that once thrived on the cosmopolitan and mutual interchange of ideas, Which Yesterday Is Tomorrow? conjures a fictive location where aesthetics and ideologies are exchanged freely, establishing an alternative to the historical narrative of colonization, crisis, and territoriality portrayed in Western media. In keeping with this approach, Elsayed and Demirjian have also invited and curated a group of designers, painters, sculptors, and poets to create mementos to contribute to the installation, establishing a space for re-connection for artists from the SWANA diaspora.

 


A large and beautiful sketchbook show at Gallery Aferro, Glimpse arose from curator Evonne M. Davis’ fascination with and love of materials that reveal the artistic process. With almost 100 national artists and collectives participating, the exhibit features a substantial, immersive range of sketches, sketchbooks, artist books, lists, musings, drawings and studies, “black books,” proof sheets, and doodles on napkins or the backs of envelopes dating from as early as the 1940s to the present day.

On view February 22- March 28, 2020
Gallery Aferro
73 Market St. Newark, NJ


Mapping Life
October 17-November 26, 2019

Opening Reception October 17, 5-8pm
Lemmerman Gallery
NJCU 2309 Kennedy Blvd. Jersey City, NJ

Mapping Life sheds light onto contemporary artists’ varied use of cartographic methods and forms in translating people’s lives, actions, and memories into their work. The work ranges from painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. Participating artists are: Noriko Ambe, Dahlia Elsayed, Kenji Kojima, Dominique Paul, Nyugen Smith, Yasunao Tone, and Sachigusa Yasuda. The show is curated by Midori Yoshimoto, NJCU Gallery Director.


2 shows opening in April

Psychogeography at The Hewlitt Gallery, Marymount Manhattan College opens Wednesday, April 3rd.
221 E. 71st St, New York, NY
On view through May 1.

Process and Practice at Gallery Aferro, opens Saturday April 6th
73 Market St., Newark, NJ
On view through May 25th.


Navigating NY exhibition opened at the NY Transit Museum. The show features contemporary artists maps and historical maps and is on view till Fall 2019. Read more about it here.