ARAB AMERICAN MUSEUM EXPLORES CONCEPTS OF “HOME” IN WINTER/SPRING SEASON

Current exhibition The Far Shore inspires exploration of diaspora and displacement via music, film, visual art, dialogue

Palestinian band 47SOUL stops in Dearborn on its first North American tour

Dearborn, Mich. (Jan. 31, 2019) – A home is much more than just a building to live in. It’s the land of one’s birth; a newly adopted city, state or country; a momentarily safe place; and those spaces we choose to occupy both physically and emotionally. It’s also a fluid term in this era of immigration disputes, refugee marches and harsh conflicts among Americans about who belongs — and who does not belong.

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) explores the concept of home – especially the gain and loss of home – throughout its 2019 Winter/Spring Season, inspired in part by The Far Shore: Navigating Homelands, a current AANM exhibition in which guest curator Melissa Chimera paired Arab American poets with Arab American visual artists in an exploration of displacement and survival. The exhibition was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, which marked the beginning of massive colonialist upheaval in the Arab world.

Season Highlights

The Winter/Spring Season begins Friday, Feb. 1 with Hikayat: Freedom Stories, a joint presentation of AANM and The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers and its founder, Satori Shakoor. Arab American and African American storytellers will share their experiences and definitions of freedom with musical enhancement by jazz multi-instrumentalist Leafar and his ensemble.

The Arab Film Series @ AANM resumes Thursday, Feb. 21 with a multimedia program, Stories Never Told: Yemen’s Crises and Renaissance. Guest-curated by Hanan Ali Yahya, this program features a series of short films by Yemeni directors, a visual art display, poetry and a talkback session. The event is free with suggested donation; proceeds go to the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation.

On its first North American tour, Palestinian group 47SOUL stops at AANM Friday, March 8 for a dance party in The Annex in celebration of its latest release, Balfron Promise, with special guest Tammy Lakkis opening. Beyond its musical influence, 47SOUL is a respected voice on social and humanitarian issues – the band’s very name is an allusion to the year before the occupation of Palestine starting in 1948. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, not only in the “Sham” region (Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) but around the world.

On Friday, May 3, AANM proudly welcomes back Frank Waln – the Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist, music producer, writer and activist from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota who first performed here in 2014. Joined by Detroit-area musicians, Waln will share experiences from his 2017 trip to Palestine, drawing compelling connections between the displacement and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples in America and Palestine.

The full season schedule appears below and at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Visit the site to purchase tickets, RSVP for free events and review program updates.

The 2019 Winter/Spring Season is made possible in part by Comerica, Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and Nissan Foundation, with media support from CJAM 99.1 FM and Downtown Monitor.

AANM is grateful for the collaboration of ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE and numerous community partners throughout the season, listed below on specific dates.

2019 Winter/Spring Season at Arab American National Museum

All programs take place at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. Purchase tickets and RSVP for free events at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Tickets also available at the door; walk-ups for free events are not guaranteed seating.

The Far Shore: Navigating Homelands

Closing April 7

Free w/ Museum admission

Guest-curated by Melissa Chimera, The Far Shore: Navigating Homelands features five Arab American visual artists with brand new work responding to five Arab American poets, all dealing with themes of displacement and survival. The exhibition coincides with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and the beginning of a period of great colonialist upheaval in the Arab World. It is also particularly poignant in America’s current political climate, where migration, displacement and survival are under constant threat for many around the world.

Hikayat: Freedom Stories

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1

$10 Museum Members, $12 students/seniors, $15 general public

Celebrate Black History Month with the return of AANM’s Hikayat storytelling series, in a special edition presented in collaboration with The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers (TSSOTS) and ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE. With coaching from Satori Shakoor – TSSOTS producer, curator and host – professional and non-professional storytellers will give live performances of compelling personal stories of freedom in its many forms.

AANM’s Hikayat series presents evenings of live storytelling, networking and culture. Laugh, cry and get lost in the intimate tales as storytellers share their personal experiences centered around specific themes. Hikayat is an Arabic word for story.

Scheduled storytellers include:

Ali Al-Arithy, a Detroit resident who is working on a master’s degree in creative writing while employed as an elementary school teacher and reading interventionist.

Mariam Noor of Detroit is a liberal arts major working on a master’s degree who is passionate about community building and organizing.

Nicole Denson, a Detroit resident who directs advocacy services at the WC SAFE Program, among the most successful and largest stand-alone sexual assault programs in Michigan.

Shahad Atiya is an immigration and criminal defense attorney who was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and resides in Detroit.

Tuyishime Claire Gasamagera is an Allen Park-based writer, genocide and AIDS survivor, and co-founder of ARISE (Association of Refugees Immigrants and Survivors of Human Trafficking Engage).

Satori Shakoor is a former Bride of Funkenstein, artist, storyteller and social entrepreneur who hosts The Moth Story Slam in Ann Arbor and WDET’s Twisted Storytellers podcast. Shakoor is the founder, producer, curator and host of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers and executive director of its parent non-profit, The Society for the Re-Institutionalization of Storytelling. In 2017, Shakoor was named a Kresge Literary Arts Fellow.

SURA Arts Academy youth photography program

Registration deadline 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15

5-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 19-April 30 @ AANM

Middle and high school students ages 10-16 will learn the art of photography in a 10-week course designed to help them share stories about their lives, community and culture. With the help of expert photographers, students will narrate and document their reality through photography. The theme for this year is home and community. Due to its success of last semester, SURA Arts Academy will continue to incorporate smartphone photography into its curriculum. Smartphones are not mandatory; point-and-shoot cameras are provided.

Arab Film Series @ AANM

Stories Never Told: Yemen’s Crises and Renaissance

Thursday, Feb. 21

Doors 6 p.m.; films 7 p.m.; talkback follows

Aliya Hassan Auditorium, AANM

FREE w/ RSVP; suggested $5 donation benefits Yemeni relief

Stories Never Told is a traveling display curated by local Yemeni American social entrepreneur Hanan Ali Yahya in partnership with AANM. It narrates the artistic renaissance born out of Yemen’s crises via visual art, short films, poetry, writing and productions of Yemeni artists residing in Yemen and the diaspora. Yahya will join AANM’s Dave Serio for a post-screening talkback. All films in Arabic with English subtitles. All donations go to The Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation.

Presented in partnership with Center for Arab American Studies at University of Michigan – Dearborn, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Cinema Lamont, Cinema Detroit, Final Girls, ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, Henry Ford College, Global Islamic Studies Center.

Writing Workshops with Jennifer Zeynab Joukhader FREE; application required

March/April dates TBA

During an Artists + Residents residency at AANM, author Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar will be using AANM’s archives to research the history of the Syrian American community over the last century for a new novel. The novel tells the story of two friends separated in the 1930s when one of their families leaves Syria for New York and the contemporary descendant who seeks, against a backdrop of American racism, Islamophobia, and violence, to reunite them before it’s too late.

Joukhadar will also present a series of workshops for writers in the community interested in generating new work, developing their writing craft, and strengthening their work for publication. Marginalized writers, especially Black and Indigenous writers and other writers of color, Muslim writers, and queer and trans writers, are particularly encouraged to apply.

47SOUL in concert wsg Tammy Lakkis

8 p.m. Friday, March 8

$10 Museum Members, $12 students/seniors, $15 general public

On its first North American tour, this Palestinian quartet celebrates its new release – Balfron Promise – with a dance party in The Annex @ AANM. 47SOUL have become renowned for inventing their own genre, Shamstep (also the name of their debut EP), which fuses dubby synthie sounds with rock elements, hip-hop and pop lyrics in English and Arabic. The high-energy electronic creation has been kicked up a gear on Balfron Promise, with cinematic soundscapes and menacing rock undertones creating an extra-atmospheric edge.

Beyond its musical influence, 47SOUL is a respected voice on social and humanitarian issues – the band’s very name is an allusion to the year before the occupation of Palestine starting in 1948. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, not only in the “Sham” region (Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) but around the world.

Opening is Tammy Lakkis, a multidisciplinary artist based in Detroit. She is a songstress, poet, painter and DJ. Her music fuses lounge-y vocals with electronic grooves and is influenced by trip hop, house and techno.

Reimagining Historic Artifacts & Archives feat. Omar Offendum

7 p.m. Thursday, March 21

FREE with RSVP

As hip-hop artist and activist Omar Offendum embarks on his next creative journey through a residency with University Musical Society (UMS), audiences are invited to join him for a lively discussion about the fabled Little Syria neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. Immigrants from the Arab world first settled Little Syria over a century ago, forming the foundations of contemporary Arab American culture. Guided by readings and recitations from some of the notable authors/poets of this time period, and supplemented with artifacts from the AANM archive, attendees will consider how this early immigrant experience might inform what is happening in America today. In the spirit of bustling Arab coffeehouses that once lined Washington Street in Little Syria, this intimate gathering will appeal to historians, artists, poets and activists, with coffee service provided by Dearborn’s Qahwah House.

Presented in partnership with University Musical Society.

Arab Film Series @ AANM

Wild Relatives

7 p.m. Thursday, April 18

Aliya Hassan Auditorium, AANM

$7 Museum Members; $10 general public

Jumana Manna’s 2018 feature-length documentary explores how taxonomies of seeds and plants carry histories of violence and colonialism, as reflected by Syria’s work with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. Deep in the Earth beneath Arctic permafrost, seeds from all over the world are stored in the Global Seed Vault to provide a backup should disaster strike. For the first time ever, seeds held there from a major gene bank in Aleppo are now being replicated, after its holdings were left behind when the institution had to move to Lebanon due to the civil war. It is refugees from Syria who are carrying out this painstaking work in the fields of the Beqaa Valley. In Arabic, Norwegian and English with English subtitles.

Presented in partnership with Center for Arab American Studies at University of Michigan – Dearborn, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Cinema Lamont, Cinema Detroit, Final Girls, ACCESS’ Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, Henry Ford College, Dearborn Public LIbrary.

Frank Waln in concert

8 p.m. Friday, May 3

$10 Museum Members, $12 students/seniors, $15 general public

This Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist, music producer and writer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota – described as the “Bob Marley of the Lakota” – travels the world, telling his story through performance and doing workshops focusing on self-empowerment and expression of truth. Waln’s music career was inspired by finding a scratched-up discarded Eminem CD while walking on the res at age 12. He first performed at AANM in 2014 and has gone on to earn great acclaim for his artistry and his activism, which has focused on the Keystone XL pipeline among other issues affecting Indigenous Peoples. He returns this season to share stories and music connecting his experience as an indigenous artist to his 2017 trip to Palestine. Detroit-area artists TBA will join Waln for this intimate evening.

AANM is an NPN/VAN Partner of the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN). This project is made possible in part by support from the NPN/VAN Artist Engagement Fund. Major contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information visit www.npnweb.org.

Writing Workshops with Jennifer Zeynab Joukhader FREE w/ RSVP

March/April dates TBA

During an Artists + Residents residency at AANM, author Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar will be using AANM’s archives to research the history of the Syrian American community over the last century for a new novel. The novel tells the story of two friends separated in the 1930s when one of their families leaves Syria for New York and the contemporary descendant who seeks, against a backdrop of American racism, Islamophobia and violence, to reunite them before it’s too late.

Joukhadar will also present a series of workshops for writers in the community interested in generating new work, developing their writing craft, and strengthening their work for publication. Marginalized writers, especially Black and Indigenous writers and other writers of color, Muslim writers, and queer and trans writers, are particularly encouraged to apply.

2nd AANM Book + Print Festival FREE

3-9 p.m. Friday, April 5

Building on the success of AANM’s inaugural 2018 Book + Print Festival, this year’s event features a curated selection by Noura Ballout of vendors offering books, prints and other merchandise, along with printing demonstrations, artist talks and live DJs. New for this year: the introduction of new comics zines created by participants in the Dearborn Comics Workshop led by artists Leila Abdelrazaq and Aya Krisht.

Presented in partnership with Maamoul Press.

All programs take place at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. Purchase tickets and RSVP for free events at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Tickets also available at the door; walk-ups for free events are not guaranteed seating.

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The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.

AANM is a national institution of ACCESS, the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S. AANM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free.

Visit www.arabamericanmuseum.org or call 313.582.2266 for further information.

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