“Sabeel: Artistic Journeys From Arab Lands to America” is the theme of a juried exhibit by Arab-American artists today, March 8, through May 24 at the University of St. Thomas. It will feature 23 mixed-media works exploring the unique experience of Arabs living in America.
“Sabeel” – an Arabic word meaning “the way” or “the path” – conveys a collective pride by these artists in their rich cultural history and a desire to share it in their new country.
Dr. Michelle Nordtorp-Madson, chief curator at St. Thomas, says the exhibit focuses on how these artists see themselves and their two cultures: “Some of the work draws on ancient traditions of pattern and calligraphy – often seen in new lights – as well as modern narratives that speak of literal journeys of self-discovery and movement through space.”
Nordtorp-Madson worked with the Eden-Prairie-based Arab-American Cultural Institute to present the exhibit, installed in the Lobby Gallery of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus.
The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Mark your calendar for April 16 event: The exhibit’s opening event will feature a lecture, “The Right to ‘Be’: Arab Women Artists and Conflicts,” by Iraqi American art historian Dr. Nada Shabout, who since 2002 has been a professor of art history at the University of North Texas. She will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, April 16, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center at St. Thomas. A reception to follow will feature Middle Eastern food, music, dance and film.
The exhibit and opening event are free and open to the public.
Participating artists will include:
“Sabeel” is presented in collaboration with the traveling ArtReach Foundation exhibit, “Breaking the Veils: Women Artists From the Islamic World,” Feb. 6-April 1 at St. Catherine University. Both exhibits encourage a dialogue to promote a deeper understanding of the Islamic world beyond religion, ethnicity or politics.
For more information, call the St. Thomas Art History Department, (651) 962-5560.