AANM explores concepts of ‘home’ in Winter/Spring Season

DEARBORN – 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; an

Photo courtesy of the Arab American National Museum Palestinian group 47SOUL will perform at a dance party in The Annex in celebration of its latest release, “Balfron Promise.” The group is on its first North American tour.

Photo courtesy of the Arab American National Museum
Palestinian group 47SOUL will perform at a dance party in The Annex in celebration of its latest release, “Balfron Promise.” The group is on its first North American tour.

d 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 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 season began 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 shared their experiences and definitions of freedom with musical enhancement by jazz multi-instrumentalist Leafar and his ensemble.

The Arab Film Series @ AANM resumes 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 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 May 3, AANM 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 the United States and Palestine.

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-FM 99.1 and Downtown Monitor.
Below is the full season schedule, which also can be viewed at www.arabamericanmuseum.org. Go to the site to purchase tickets, make reservations for free events and review program updates. Tickets also may be available at the door; walk-ups for free events are not guaranteed seating.
All programs take place at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave.

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.

SURA Arts Academy youth photography program
Registration deadline 5 p.m. Feb. 15
5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 19 to April 30

Middle and high school students ages 10 to 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
Free with response/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, Cinema Lamont, Cinema Detroit, Final Girls, ACCESS’s Campaign to Take On Hate, Henry Ford College, and Global Islamic Studies Center.

Writing Workshops with Jennifer Zeynab Joukhader
Free; application required
March and April dates to be announced

During an Artists + Residents residency at AANM, author Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar will use 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 with special guest 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 disc jockey. 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 response

As hip-hop artist and activist Omar Offendum embarks on his next creative journey through a residency with University Musical Society, 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, Cinema Lamont, Cinema Detroit, Final Girls, ACCESS’s Campaign to Take On Hate, Henry Ford College, and 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 reservation 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. 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. For more information go to www.npnweb.org.

Writing Workshops with Jennifer Zeynab Joukhader
Free with response
March and April dates to be announced

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 to 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 disc jockeys. 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.

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