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Arab Women Artists Create Utopian Visions

posted on: Sep 17, 2008


Have you ever dreamed of a better, more perfect world? The word “utopia” represents a grand vision for an ideal society, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects. This imaginative concept reflects the human desire for civic improvement and perfection.

In Utopian Visions, running from September 25, 2008 through March 29, 2009 at the Arab American National Museum, four artists of Arab descent, all women, each conceive their own vision of a more perfect place. The exhibition, in the Main Floor Gallery, is free with Museum admission.

The works created by these artists – Rima Al-Awar, Rana Chalabi, Roula Ayoub and Emna Zghal – draw upon disparate forms of inspiration, ranging from nature to poetry to spiritual belief, challenging the viewers to consider their own interpretations of utopia. (see artist biographies and statements below).

“This exhibit is a remarkable medley of color, texture and imagery that evokes our universal yearning for a more perfect world,” says AANM Curator of Collections Suzy Adra Mazloum, who led the development of Utopian Visions. “It also encourages our viewers to reflect on their own personal visions of utopia and share them with their fellow visitors – in a very real way, our viewers will enhance this exhibit as it continues to evolve over the next six months.”

With four very different and creative artists participating and coming from disparate locations – Toronto, Cairo, Beirut and New York City – there are many interesting aspects to this exhibit. A singular component is a series of 12 prints by Emna Zghal.

“This collection, titled The Prophet of Black Folk, comes not from the artist, but from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library,” says Stephen Williams, manager of the Museum’s Curatorial Department. “It illustrates The Black Prophet by the contemporary Arab poet Adonis, and we made special arrangements with the Schomburg Center to bring these beautiful pieces to Dearborn.”

The public is invited to attend the opening reception for Utopian Visions at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 25 at the AANM.

Those attending the reception are not required to pay Museum admission and complimentary refreshments are served. Please

RSVP to:
Fay Saad