AANM Book, Print Fest celebrates cutting-edge artists of color

Photos courtesy of the Arab American National Museum Noura Ballout

Photos courtesy of the Arab American National Museum
Noura Ballout

Event includes the official launch of new small press and arts collective, Maamoul Press

DEARBORN – Connecting communities to generate appreciation and understanding has long been a hallmark of the Arab American National Museum. Providing a programmatic platform that unites artists of color in a celebration of creativity and self-expression is at the heart of the Museum’s annual Book + Print Fest.

AANM’s second annual Book + Print Fest, from 2 to 9 p.m. April 5, builds on the success of the inaugural event in 2018. This year’s event, curated by artist Noura Ballout, features vendors offering books, prints and other merchandise, along with on-site screen-printing, artist workshops and live music. Admission is free.

Zeyn Joukhadar

Zeyn Joukhadar

“Part of my practice is being a space-maker and a bridge, so one of my primary goals for this festival is to create a bridge between the Arab, Dearborn community and the black, Detroit community through media,” said Ballout, who also curated the inaugural event in 2018. “Then, I want to expose the greater Detroit community to these diverse, talented creatives.”

This year’s vendor lineup represents artists, publications and presenters from Dearborn, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Iraq.

The soundtrack this year will be provided by Iranian disc jockey and producer Salar Ansari, the sound director of Poetic Societies, the Detroit-based global curatorial agency and performance lab. Also delivering a set will be performance DJ ProblematicBlackHottie, an up-and-coming DJ and event producer from Detroit.

Closing out the fest will be a performance by Sayat Nuvo, the collaboration of Levon Kafafian and Augusta Morrison inspired by the multilingual, multicultural 18th-century bard Sayat Nova. They create soundscapes woven with prose, integrating Armenian folk music and poetry with a modern eclectic experimental sound. Their current work connects recent and ancestral displacements, exploring the spaces between home and exile.

Leila Abdelrazaq

Leila Abdelrazaq

Book + Print Fest Schedule

2 p.m. Book + Print Fest opens. Shop the stellar lineup of vendors and get a T-shirt or tote screen-printed onsite.

3-5 p.m. Jam out to live local DJ ProblematicBlackHottie.

4 p.m. Poetry workshop with Benjamin Earl Turner, in partnership with InsideOut. All ages and levels welcome; middle and high school students are highly encouraged.

5:30-7:30 p.m. Jam out to live local DJ Salar Ansari.

5:30 p.m. Book reading and signing with current AANM resident artist Zeyn Joukhadar, author of “The Map of Salt and Stars.”

6:30 p.m. Official launch of Maamoul Press, introducing comics and magazines created by participants in the Dearborn Comics Workshop in partnership with AANM, and a Coptic book-binding workshop in which participants will experiment with different kinds of paper and stitching methods to create their own hand-bound booklets.

8 p.m. Performance by Sayat Nuvo, closing out the fest.

For further details and updates, go to www.bit.ly/AANMBPF.

Benjamin Earl Turner

Benjamin Earl Turner


Noura Ballout is an artist, curator and entrepreneur. Ballout works in a wide range of creative mediums, maintaining a primary practice in photography. Ballout work is about constructing and finding home while navigating an intersectional identity in diaspora, which often manifests in the meeting of art and community. Ballout is the founder of Habibi House, a studio and residency space, and the co-owner of The Bottom Line, a cafe and hub for creatives in Detroit.

Leila Abdelrazaq is a Detroit-based Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, “Baddawi” (Just World Books 2015) was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages. She is also the author and illustrator of “The Opening” (Tosh Fesh, 2017) as well as a number of magazines and short comics.

Her creative work primarily explores issues related to diaspora, refugees, history, memory and borders. Abdelrazaq has been involved in organizing in various capacities since 2011, and integrates art making into her organizing work. She is a co-founder of the small press and arts collective, Maamoul Press.

Aya Krisht is a Lebanese designer and printmaker based in Dearborn. She graduated from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, where her senior thesis focused on the relationship between design and comics. She continues to be engaged in comics speaking, teaching and publishing.

Her creative interests are at the intersection of visual storytelling and the exploration and representation of the human condition. She is the media designer at the AANM. She is a co-founder of the small press and arts collective, Maamoul Press.

Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of the novel “The Map of Salt and Stars” (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2018), a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers and a member of American Mensa. His work has appeared in “Salon,” “The Paris Review Daily,” “The Kenyon Review,” “The Saturday Evening Post” and “PANK Magazine,” and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net.

“The Map of Salt and Stars” was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction, and received starred reviews from “Kirkus,” “Booklist” and others. Joukhadar has been an artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, Calif.; the Fes Medina Project in Fes, Morocco; and Beit al-Atlas in Beirut, Lebanon.

Benjamin Earl Turner is a recording artist, actor, performer and writer.

Book + Print Fest is made possible in part by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, Comerica and Nissan Foundation.

The AANM is at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. For more information, go to www.arabamericanmuseum.org or call 313-582-2266.