Cultural coalition comes together to present exhibitions, artist dialogues and education programs that connect the Arab World and United States
Launch Program: October 13–23, 2018
The Arab Art & Education Initiative (AAEI) is pleased to announce its launch program to take place in New York City from October 13–23, 2018. A coalition of artists, foundations, and cultural institutions, the AAEI is a city-wide, year-long program that aims to connect contemporary Arab culture with diverse audiences across the five boroughs of New York City. Activated through exhibitions, artist dialogues and education programs in schools and universities, the initiative is produced by Edge of Arabia.
The AAEI launch program will feature special programs in collaboration with prominent cultural organizations, including: 2 Bridges Music Arts, ArtX, Asia Society, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Pioneer Works, UNESCO, and the Washington Street Historical Society.
Programming for the AAEI is guided by a commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 global goals set forth by the UN and world leaders in 2015 to realize a better world by 2030. Asia Society’s and UNESCO’s Art for Sustainable Futures forum – a platform for artists to present their work and discuss culture’s role in humanitarian, economic, and socially engaged projects – will specifically address the intersections between the SDGs and the art and culture industries. This event will serve as a prelude to a landmark Culture Summit at the United Nations in 2019 that will gather artists and cultural leaders from the United States and the Arab world to discuss how culture can contribute to and activate the SDGs.
Arab Art & Education Initiative Launch Program
October 13–23, 2018
Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart
October 13, 2018 – January 13, 2019
This exhibition uniquely blends the discovery of medieval ceramics in Raqqa in the early 20th century with the present-day refugee crisis in Syria. A selection of artifacts from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection of Islamic Art will be paired with work by three contemporary Arab artists to draw attention to refugees a century apart. These artists include: Mohamad Hafez (b. 1984, Syria), Issam Kourbaj (b. 1963, Syria), and Ginane Makki Bacho (b. 1947, Lebanon). The exhibition is curated by Ayşin Yoltar-Yıldırım, the Hagop Kevorkian Associate Curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
Creativity Lab with Issam Kourbaj
October 14, 2018 | 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Conversations: Artists on the Refugee Crisis
October 18, 2018 | 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Featuring: Mohamad Hafez (b. 1984, Syria), Issam Kourbaj (b. 1963, Syria), Ginane Makki Bacho (b. 1947, Lebanon).
Washington Street Historical Society / Pioneer Works
Poets of Little Syria Guided Tours
Tours on Sunday, October 14 & Sunday, October 21, 2018
The Washington Street Historical Society will offer tours of what was once known as “Little Syria,” an enclave in the Washington Street area of Lower Manhattan that served as the cultural and economic heart of Arab America from the 1880s until the 1940s. This quarter was also the literary center of a remarkable group of renowned writers and poets, including Khalil Gibran and Amin Rehani, who spearheaded a renaissance in Arabic arts and letters. The tours will offer a glimpse into the rich history and notable personalities of “Little Syria” while foreshadowing the 2019 launch of an Augmented Reality Walking Tour app. Created by Pioneer Works’ technology department in collaboration with the Washington Street Historical Society, the app will use the latest AR software to help users imagine this lost and forgotten neighborhood through audio, video, photographs, and GPS location data.
Arab Street Artists Program
October 14 – 24, 2018
Art X Open House: October 17, 2018 | 6pm till late
Made famous in New York in the 1970s, street art and graffiti have since transformed cities around the world. Launching with the first commission in October 2018, a series of artists from the Arab world, including Athier Mousawi (b. 1982, Iraq) and Abdullah Qandeel (b. 1988, Saudi Arabia), and Dubai-based Tahreek Studio will engage with the history of the form, its local roots, and its contemporary innovations. Throughout the month of October, these artists will partner with ArtX in New York’s Meatpacking District, creating site-specific work to accompany an artists’ majlis (tea room), a news room, a dining room, and art event space. Incorporating distinctive accents from each artist’s cultural heritage, the series considers the influence of place on the evolution of the street art movement.
Young Arab Artists Exhibition
Exhibition Launch Party: October 17, 2018 | 6pm till late
Curated by Kuwaiti artist, Razan Al Sarraf, this exhibition brings together young, emerging artists of Arab origin who uniquely tackle issues of culture, politics and tradition through satire, humor or incisive self-analysis. The show will include artists from Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia; each attempting to reclaim the image of “being Arab”. Whether through potent visuals, a subtle revealing of the beauty of tradition, or a fresh approach towards the “now”, these artists act as archivers, witnesses and pioneers of a new era of change. The artists include Ahaad Al Amoudi, Zahra Al-Mahdi, Razan Al Sarraf, Samer Fouad, Farah Salem, and Tareq Sultan.
2 Bridges Music Arts
October 14–24, 2018
Fully Booked Pop-Up:
October 19, 2018 | 6pm to 9pm
October 20, 2018 | 1pm to 8pm
2 Bridges Music Arts will showcase a curated selection of music, artists’ books, original artworks and graphic design posters from the Arab World in their Chinatown location and during a unique pop-up event with Fully Booked. Throughout the launch program, 2 Bridges Music Arts will also provide unique playlists and one-off DJ sets during the main AAEI events.
The Museum of Modern Art
Modern Mondays – An Evening with Monira Al Qadiri
Monday, October 15, 2018 | 7pm
In this evening of film and conversation, Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Senegal) appears at MoMA to present a program of moving image works centered on transnational narratives. A Kuwaiti artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan, Al Qadiri adopts a range of imaginative strategies to explore interlocking personal and political histories of the Gulf. Arab soap operas, science fiction, and elegiac song all figure as methods to create speculative, uncanny scenarios that foreground the circulation of capital and bodies – both looking back at and probing possible futures for petro-cultures and global cultural networks. The evening brings together videos made over the last five years and the recent lecture performance American Century: The End, followed by a discussion. The program is part of MoMA’s ongoing interdisciplinary Modern Mondays series, which offers audiences an opportunity to engage with artists and leading cultural voices in an intimate screening setting.
New York / Arab World Culture Forum: Art for Sustainable Futures , in partnership with UNESCO
Tuesday, October 16,2018 | 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Developed in partnership with UNESCO, this forum at Asia Society marks the official launch of the New York Arab Art & Education Initiative, gathering artists and cultural organisations in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which encompass humanitarian, social development and environmental initiatives. Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi will moderate a discussion between three artists – Rashad Salim (b. 1957, Sudan), Matthew Mazzotta (b. US) and Mona Chalabi (b. 1987, UK) – on the role of artists and art institutions in supporting the SDGs. The forum will serve as a precursor to a major UN Culture Summit in 2019 that will bring together the AAEI’s partners, as well as artists and cultural leaders from the U.S. and Arab world, to assess next steps for engaging culture to address the SDGs.
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Arab Women Artist Residency Launch and Open Studio with Farah Al Qasimi
Opening Night: October 18 | 6pm to 10pm
October 19 | 6pm to 9pm
October 20 | 1pm to 6pm
The EFA Studio Program will host a series of Arab women artists in a year-long program as part of the AAEI. Working from a dedicated studio in the acclaimed 90-studio arts building in Manhattan, the artist will be part of a vibrant, cooperative community dedicated to fostering professional development and encouraging open exchange between artists, curators, critics, and the public. The first international partnership EFA resident is Emirati artist and musician, Farah Al Qasimi (b. 1991, Abu Dhabi, UAE). The EFA Open Studios takes place at the start of Farah’s residency, with a showcase of work that locates the fantastic in the everyday with explorations of how consumer culture seduces people, particularly women, with promises of beauty or self-improvement.
Ahmed Mater: An Artist’s Lens on Mecca
Monday, October 22, 2018 | 6pm to 8pm
A rich program of talks will amplify the messaging and mission of the Arab Art and Education Initiative. In partnership with city-wide universities, this program will connect faculty, students, and the public with contemporary cultural ideas and practitioners from the Arab world. The program will launch with a special event at Columbia University: Representations of Mecca with artist Ahmed Mater (b. 1979, Saudi Arabia) and Professor Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Conversations with Contemporary Artists: Samia Halaby
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 | 6:30pm
In this program, abstract painter and influential scholar of Palestinian art Samia Halaby (b. 1936, Jerusalem) will describe her creative process, followed by a conversation between the artist and Sasha Kalter-Wasserman, Associate Curator, Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Recognized as a pioneer of contemporary abstraction, Halaby has paintings in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Her practice is rooted in the conviction that abstract painting reflects the principles of motion in nature and has the power to inspire technology with new visual insights. This program is part of The Elaine Terner Cooper Education Fund Conversations with Contemporary Artists series.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Scholarly Seminar: Collecting and Exhibiting the Middle East
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
By invitation only
The Met will host a special scholarly seminar to explore how encyclopedic museums today collect and exhibit modern and contemporary art from the Middle East. Providing a space for invitees to share ideas and learn from other experts in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, the event marks an important step towards establishing a robust conversation amongst curators, artists and scholars in the field, and will serve as a foundation for future programming.
New York City Public Schools
Artists in Schools
2018 – 2019 launch
A collaboration with museum arts education teams and the NYC public school departments will see Arab artists work with students on projects that explore questions of heritage and contemporary cultural issues, introducing new mediums, history, and socio-cultural contexts to students.
ABOUT THE AAEI
Taking place from October 2018 – 2019, the Arab Art & Education Initiative is a year-long collaboration between leading New York and Arab world cultural institutions, seeking to build greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world. Programming for the AAEI is guided by a commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 global goals set forth by the UN and world leaders in 2015 to realize a better world by 2030.
The AAEI is produced by the UK-based social enterprise, Edge of Arabia and activated by a coalition of partners including 2 Bridges Music Arts | Art Jameel | ArtX | Asia Society | Brooklyn Museum | Columbia University | Edge of Arabia | Misk Art Institute | Pioneer Works | Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | The Museum of Modern Art | UNESCO | Washington Street Historical Society | WeWork. The Initiative will feature additional programs to be announced throughout the year, as well as a Culture Summit at the United Nations in 2019 that will gather cultural leaders and artists for the activation of the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development.