There is no place like New York City where people gather at art events and connect over similar interests. New Yorkers know how to make good conversation expressively over art, wine, and grape leaves. Alwan for the Arts is a cultural center located on 16 Beaver Street New York, NY. Since 1998, Alwan Center for the Arts has played a great role in promoting cultural diversity of Middle Eastern art in New York and tri-state metropolitan area. The art center continuously works on expanding its programs, which includes concerts, dance performances, academic book talks, poetry readings, panel discussions, theatrical performances, visual arts exhibits, and colorful classes in language, dance, and music. Alwan transformed over the past years into a cultural and aesthetic hub, curating up to 100 events every year.
On April 5th, 2016 I was happy to attend one of Alwan’s vibrant and innovative exhibitions, Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings. This exhibition runs through Thursday, April 28, 2016. Be sure to take a look! The art is fascinating yet haunting by bringing an outpour of emotions to the gallery and to the observer. The art space is filled with numerous artworks with a wide selection from the uprisings of the Arab Spring in the Middle East. The art space includes slogans of the youthful character in its expression through tablet screens, paintings, and brushes, markers, smartphone photos and videos. Beautifully designed to attract viewers, the art center shares a creative vitality. To experience aspirations for freedom and justice through an artistic setting.
Each work is truly a piece of art where the observer absorbs each message through art. The exhibition conclusively portrays protests in the Arab World with countries from Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, along with the varied responses to protests in the Arab World beginning in late 2010. Below is a series of collections from the exhibition, enjoy!
This personally is one of my favorite pieces in the collection:
Nefertiti in a Gas Mask, poster by “El Zeft”, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, February 2012. Digital image courtesy of the artist, June 2013.
Above is exhausted, torn, and simply burned out is the current state of Nefirtiti in a gas mask. She is shown as having endured long days of protests while dodging tear gas attacks and Molotov cocktails. Representing the female voice of the revolution, this image of Queen Nefertiti pays tribute to the strong and tenacious women who took part in the Egyptian uprisings.
Using the title of the great Lebanese singer, Fairouz. Another Day Lost is a series of installations by Syrian-born, UK based artist Issam Kourbaj, who was inspired by the refugee crisis. Made out of discarded books, sheet music, aerial photography, maps, medicine packaging and matches.
The overall appearance is a that of a refugee “camp”, constructed from thousands of tiny paper and cardboard created to look like tents. Many boxes, encircled with a fence of matches, are marked with Kourbaj’s distinctive black lines (based on traditional mourning ribbons).
The matches burn as time passes, arranged in tally marks to count each day. One burned match for each day since the Syrian uprising of March 15th, 2011. One match added daily to the artwork to commemorate the countless Syrian lives lost during the past 5 years. Kourbaj laments the loss of time and everyday peaceful life for Syrians everywhere.
This is the 10th edition of Another Day Lost, which was previously shown in London, New York, Philadelphia, and Dubai.