From the Moroccan and Saudi garments floating in space to Turkish prayer rugs that face the qibla, this exhibition is intended to engage the community in an ongoing dialogue concerning current events and cultural perspectives. A portrait of King Abdullah by student artist, Alanoud Alarishi, is the subject for a postal stamp design. The piece encourages a moment to reflect on the King’s legacy in advocating for women’s reforms, lobbying for less U.S. military presence while cracking down on Al Qaeda, and advocating for a stronger education system by creating the King Abdullah scholarship program to send students like Alanoud to the University of New Haven.
Hank Paper’s photographs overlook the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, a Druze villager making laffa on the street, a close-up of a hand reaching into Safran, and an endearing family moment between father and son. These dynamic compositions provide glimpses into the materiality of daily life. Edward Castiglione’s vivid paintings reflect the ornate designs of Persian carpets and offer a quiet reflection and concern for the pattern of America’s wars in the Mideast. Donna Leake’s photographs capture The Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain and fabric and housewares vendors in Morocco, Africa. Bandar Almarshad’s high contrast ink drawing captures swirling patternsand mirrored abstractions reminiscent of Arabic calligraphy. Abdul Zahran’smetallic elephant drawing explores ornate forms and delicate line weights. Marjorie Gillette Wolfe’s photo of a row of palm trees captures a tessellating organic pattern. Among collections of instruments, coffee dallahs, and domestic and decorative objects, these artworks describe an ornate and ongoing narrative.