ajnabieh: Palestinian flag in front of billboard for the movie Prince of Persia.   (prince of persia)
I am a great lover of the visual arts, despite the fact that I have a) no personal aptitude for them and b) no critical education in how to think about them. All I know is that I would very much like to become a purchaser of art in my future life, when I someday am not living on a grad student's salary.

In any case, Diwan introduced me to a bunch of amazing visual artists I had never encountered before, producing breathtaking work that is intensely politically critical but also aesthetically stunning. Although I'm glad for the performance artists and writers I encountered, too, it's the visual artists that I'm most enthusiastic about.

I've combined them all into a post, because I am lazy. Sorry about that.

Note: There are a bunch of videos in here, none of which have transcripts (except for some of the interviews in the documentaries, which are subtitled in English because they were conducted in Arabic). If anybody needs either a transcript or a summary, I'd be happy to provide.)

John Halaka, painter and documentary filmmaker )

Reem Gibriel )

Ayad Alkadhi )
ajnabieh: A seagull standing on a "no seagulls" sign, with the text FIGHT THE POWER (fight the power seagull)
Diwan, the annual Arab American arts conference, was held in New York this year, which means I had the chance to attend.  It was a very exciting conference, driven by artists who want to be politically engaged and reflect critically on what their work means, in a climate of deep and troubling anti Arab bias, as well as the constantly shifting political situation in the Arab world. I both heard very interesting presentations, and got to encounter some new-to-me artists that I'd love to recommend. This post is going to be for writing up presentations; I'll do a separate series of artists to watch for posts.

Friday, I attended all but the poetry reading, and found it to be very exciting. There was a good sized crowd, especially for a Friday; lots of artists, a few academics & teachers, some students, and a bunch of other folks. The conference was co-sponsored by the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, which led to one very funny effect: the majority of the speakers had strong accents (to my ear), either because their first language was Arabic...or because they were from Michigan. Oh, linguistic variation in Arab America...

Panel on Responses to 9/11 )

Arts and Education: Novels, K-12 Curriculum, Kids' Cartoons! )

Unconference session on Arab revolutions; my musing on race and gender dynamics )

On Saturday, I arrived just in time to catch the end of a music performance, and then saw an amazing panel of visual artists, which reduced me to tears at a couple of points. (Again, watch for the artists' posts.) The closing keynote was delivered by Joseph Massad of Columbia University.

Keynote notes; less than enthused )

The conference sessions will be available via the Arab American National Museum iTunes site (link will try to open in iTunes) in a few months; you can also see their other programming there now.  The program is here, with lots more info.  Look for the artist profiles over the next week-or-two-or-three...
ajnabieh: Sign for a store reading "Hot Chick." (hot chick)
I think I've had these links gestating on my hard drive long enough...time to get them out there before they rust.

Pretty & Yummy Things )
Politics Things: Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Youth Identity )

Academia stuff; okay, only one link here )


ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

March 2016

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