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DATE: July 8, 2003

Exhibition showcases Arab and Middle Eastern heritage

DEARBORN---The Center for Arab American Studies (CAAS) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn will present an art exhibit called "Diversity in Harmony: Works by American Artists of Arab and Middle Eastern Heritage" September 8 through October 10 at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery on the UM-Dearborn campus.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will feature paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics and video art.

"This exhibit presents works of art of diverse professional artists who carry artistic links to the culture of the Middle East, or have experienced multiculturalism through amalgamation of the Middle Eastern and Western cultures," according to Hashim Al-Tawil, exhibit curator and lecturer in Islamic art at UM-Dearborn. He also is a member of the CAAS academic advisory committee.

"All artists in this exhibit have been impacted by that multicultural exposure in various degrees and manners. Each artist carries his or her unique cultural and artistic talent, augmented by years of professional experience, and a rich history of creativity, thus presenting an interesting lifetime experience in the form of visual art forms," Al-Tawil said.

Artists participating in the exhibit include Mamoun Sakkal, a traditional Arabic calligrapher; Mumtaz Husain, a renowned artist with exposure at the United Nations and many galleries in New York City; Maysaloun Faraj, an artist, gallery director and organizer of an international art event bridging the cultural path between Europe and the United States; Leila Kubba of Washington D.C.; and Mahmoud Obaidi, who is well known in Canada, the United States and the Middle East.

Al-Tawil, whose art has been shown in major exhibits in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, also will feature some of his own work. He recently completed and installed an outdoor ceramic monument representing the Arab/Muslim community in Detroit at Solanus Casey Center. His work also is on display at the Rotterdam museum in the Netherlands.

Other Michigan-based artists with works in the exhibition will include Kegham Tazian, Lila Kadaj, Kathleen Rashid, Ilham Mahfouz, Adnan Charara, Mohammed Fradi, Salam Norie, Wafer Shayota and Sabah Yousif.

A special feature of the exhibit will be the work of the late artist Sari Khoury, and a video presentation by Joe Namy. Al-Tawil and Sakkal will give several lectures during the exhibition.

The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is located on the third floor of UM-Dearborn's Mardigian Library. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call Al-Tawil at (248) 361-1735, or e-mail hmaltawi@umd.umich.edu.

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