History Is Not Here: Art and the Arab Imaginary
September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020
For this fall’s exhibition, Minnesota Museum of American Art and Mizna, a St. Paul-based Arab arts organization, are partnering to present History Is Not Here: Art and the Arab Imaginary.
Coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of Mizna’s flagship art and literary journal, the exhibition’s roster is selected from the list of artists highlighted in its pages: Hamdi Attia, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou Rahme, Osama Esid, Fadlabi, Adelita Husni-Bey, Emily Jacir, Yazan Khalili, Joe Namy, Monira al Qadiri, Alaa Satir, Zineb Sedira, Athir Shayota, Nida Sinnokrot, Walid Siti, Raed Yassin, and Ala Younis.
This exhibition recognizes the so-called Arab world and its diaspora as multiform, made up of 22 countries with distinct histories as well as diverse ethnicities, languages, and religions. Through visual art, book art, installation, and video, the exhibition’s 17 U.S.-based and international artists engage the “Arab imaginary” as a strategy for examining various social, cultural, and political positions, making connections between contemporary geopolitics and the histories that inform them.
These artists address challenges in representation, including the misunderstandings and missteps, and the limiting and problematic terms that are often used to define the region, especially in the U.S. History Is Not Here rejects the idea of history as a fixed category and looks to alternative imagery and language structures from which new “imaginaries” can be generated.
History Is Not Here is curated by Heba Y. Amin (visual artist and curator of visual art for Mizna) and Maymanah Farhat (writer and independent curator), in collaboration with the M.
Public programs and tours are on-site at the M unless otherwise noted.
Fridays and Sundays at noon
Free and open to the public
Bite-sized 10- to 15-minute chats about the exhibitions and new museum facility, offered twice each week by M volunteers.
Free * RSVP requested
Dig deeper into what’s on view in the galleries in tours led by the artists, scholars, and the exhibition’s curatorial team.
- Sun., Sept. 15, 1 p.m. • Exhibition curators Heba Y. Amin and Maymanah Farhat
- Sat., Oct. 5, 1 p.m. • Poet Sagirah Shahid
- Thurs., Dec. 12, 6 p.m. • U of MN Women, Gender, and Sexuality Scholar Sima Shakhsari
ASL interpretation is available for some tours.
Arab Americans: History, Culture, and Contributions (Arab American National Museum, 2019): A helpful overview of Arab American immigration history, including the recent influx of immigrants, and touches on the themes of religion, cultural traditions and the impact of media stereotyping, complete with maps, graphs, and historical images.