MEI Art Gallery Now Open for Timed Visits

The MEI Art Gallery is now accepting in-person appointments to view its current exhibition. Please note that we are limiting occupancy to no more than four visitors in the Gallery at a time.

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Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S.

Curated by Maymanah Farhat. On view September 10 - November 17, 2021


Artists belonging to the Arab Diaspora in the United States have contributed to the development of American art since the early twentieth century, yet the story of this artistic community has rarely been considered. Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S. seeks to unearth this history by identifying some of the aesthetic threads that connect a diverse, multigenerational group of artists, thus offering a template for future scholarship.

One of the most prominent themes explored by Arab American and U.S based Arab artists over the last seventy-five years has been the process of migration and the state of in-betweenness that often results. Beginning with the work of Kahlil Gibran, a member of the earliest known Arab American creative community, the exhibition explores how artists have used concepts like third spaces, community building, hybridity, and memory formation in works that allude to the complexities of migration, including invisibility, alienation, intergenerational trauma, and changing identities.

Featured artists are Etel Adnan, Sama Alshaibi, Zeina Barakeh, Kamal Boullata, Huguette Caland, Yasmine Nasser Diaz, Dahlia Elsayed, Kahlil Gibran, Sherin Guirguis, Helen Khal, John Halaka, Jackie Milad, Mohammed Omar Khalil, Zeinab Saab, Jacqueline Reem Salloum, Nazar Yahya, and Helen Zughaib.

We are now accepting appointments to visit this exhibition in person starting from September 13.

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Browse Works Online

Photo: Corps bleu (1973), Huguette Caland (courtesy Huguette Caland Estate)

Curator’s Tour


Watch a virtual tour of the new exhibition, “Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S.” led by curator Maymanah Farhat.

Past MEI Art Gallery Exhibitions

Mission


The MEI Art Gallery is a unique platform in the nation’s capital dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary and modern art, photography, and video from the region. Located in the Dupont Circle area, close to museums, galleries and think tanks, the MEI Art Gallery promotes the work of the most exciting artists emerging from the Middle East and its diaspora in Washington and beyond. In line with MEI’s overall mission ‘to increase knowledge of the Middle East among citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two areas,' the MEI Art Gallery seeks to: 

  1. Showcase the very best in contemporary and modern art, photography and video from Morocco to Afghanistan

  2. Provide a hub for dialogue about the role of the arts in society and ways U.S. audiences can better engage with artists to support the region’s arts, culture and heritage sectors

  3. Connect Middle Eastern artists with Washington’s art, culture and policy circles to facilitate partnerships and training opportunities

  4. Amplify the importance of the arts of the Middle East though panel talks, film screenings and educational workshops