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Arab American Artists, Performers, Scholars Convene in Dearborn for National Meeting

posted on: Feb 13, 2009

They are coming from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Austin, Minneapolis and Orlando. They are visual artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, scholars, plus one arty earthquake engineer.

They are Arab Americans and non-Arabs fascinated with Arab and Arab American art and culture. They are converging on Dearborn, Michigan in late March to present and celebrate their creativity with each other and the public, in the only such multidisciplinary art gathering of its kind in the United States.

The Arab American National Museum convenes its third DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. with a Global Thursdays performance by writer/actor Suheir Hammad, star of director Annemarie Jacir’s film Salt of This Sea, Palestine’s submission for 2009 Academy Award® consideration.

DIWAN continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 27-29 at the AANM with presentations, panel discussions, a lively open-mic session, meals and fellowship. Among the featured weekend performers are dancing drummer Karim Nagi and performance artist Najla Said, the daughter of noted Arab American scholar Edward Said.

Among the topics being examined at the 2009 DIWAN are:

* the use of comedy in combating Arab stereotypes
* how Arab American artists address war as subject matter
* the cross-cultural experiences of today’s “digital youth”
* how Arab ethnicity affects artists and their work
* the challenges and rewards of presenting Arab arts to the public

The 2009 DIWAN is dedicated to the memory of the Palestinian poet, author and activist Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008).

“The biennial DIWAN is one of the most exciting events presented by the AANM,” says Director Anan Ameri. “Arab American artists from around the country share their work, reaffirm their identity, stand up against profiling and advocate for our shared humanity.”

“This weekend dialogue also reinforces our commitment to provide a gathering place for the national Arab American community, while encouraging people of all backgrounds to explore the boundaries of art in addressing social issues related to Arab Americans and the community at large,” Ameri says.

Who should attend DIWAN? Anyone with a personal or professional interest in Arab American arts, culture and history, including students, educators at all levels, artists in all disciplines and adventurous arts aficionados. Is it only for Arab Americans? No – all are welcome.

All sessions take place at the Museum and are open to the public. Registration information, a complete schedule and presenter biographies are available for download HERE or by calling 313.624.0219 or emailing Advance registration is recommended but not required.

Registration for DIWAN is $25 for single-day attendance and $65 for Friday through Sunday ($55 for Museum Members). Included in the fee are lunch, dinner and live performances Friday and Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. Parking is free in the municipal lot adjacent to the Museum.

Students of any age with a current school ID may take advantage of a special registration rate of just $15 covering events and meals Friday through Sunday, March 27-29.

The Thursday, March 26 Global Thursdays performance by Suheir Hammad is not included in registration fees; tickets are $8 in advance online only at and $10 at the door.