An Exhibit of Early Arab American Cultural Life: Helen Zughaib
Date(s) - 02/18/2021
Raleigh, NC November 19, 2020
The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies (@ NC State University) is delighted to announce the release of Turath, a path-breaking virtual exhibit that maps the rich mosaic of early Arab American culture through music, literature, poetry, art, performance, and journalism. Turath offers a broad and momentous collection of material culture, for general interest and specialized researchers alike.
This project was born out of a collaborative effort between the Khayrallah Center, the Arab American National Museum, the Washington Street Historical Society, Lebanese American University (NY Office), and the American University of Beirut (NY Office) to produce a series of events celebrating the centenary of the al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya, the first Arab literary society in the US, established in 1920. However, the broader and more important goal is to honor the rich and diverse cultural lives and accomplishments of early Arab Americans (1880-1950), whose stories have largely been untold.
Thus, and in addition to highlighting well known cultural figures, this exhibition introduces an expansive and unprecedented perspective incorporating women writers, geographies outside of New York, and highlighting non-literary productions such as art, performance, music, and the press. For example, Afifa Karam’s writings, performances at World’s Fairs across the United States, and cultural mahrajans are featured alongside the literary works of Jibran, Naimy, and Rihani. By delving into Turath you can explore fashion icons, like Marie Azeez El-Khoury’s feature on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, the earth-moving performance of Marrie Bayrooty, or the haunting words of Abu Madi’s “The Talkative God.” Across its broad span, Turath invokes the power of history through a multimedia platform that is as powerful as it is engaging, and that pays homage to the cultural energy and productions of early Arab Americans.
To augment the online exhibit, Turath features a series of webinars with award-winning and diaspora-bending Arab American artists, writers, poets, and musicians:
- Jan. 13: Omar Offendum
- Feb. 18: Helen Zughaib
- Mar. 23: Safia Elhillo
- Apr. 14: Rabih Alameddine
- May 06: Tarek Yamani
To RSVP for any of the Turath webinars, please visit the exhibit’s events page.
The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies was established at North Carolina State University in 2015 as a research and outreach center for the production and dissemination of knowledge about Lebanese immigration to the United States and around the world.