Arab American Museum Celebrates Ten Years

The Arab American national museum is holding the TEN exhibit to commemorate ten years of existence. The museum is located on Michigan Avenue near Schaefer in the center of East Dearborn. The front of the museum has a sign in classic Arabic calligraphy that sits atop traditional blue Turkish tile. The border of the sign consists of subtle circular objects that seem to burst open in front of the eyes. Much like the intricately woven patterns of the design, the museum has mixed tradition with contemporary and has taken the shape of the community over its ten years.

This is, of course, a community which infuses traditional Arabic customs with a growing sense of modernism. HFC student Brett Neubecker, who visited the museum, quizzically expressed that “I live in Wyandotte… Any hint of Arabic culture is few and between. It was a wonderful experience to see both the beautiful artwork in the exhibit and looking around the rest of the museum. Longer maybe?” The display features a marvelous painting of two red faces; the one on the left is that of a soft feminine face with thick eyebrows and eyes that are shut peacefully while the face on the right is more of an anthropomorphized statue with almond shaped eyes and a unibrow. Both are glossed over in a chalky red color. This particular painting is called “6,000 Years Old” and was created in 2012 by Nazar Yahya The exhibit is filled to the brim with unique artwork like Yahya’s from other Arab American artists.

Looking past just the TEN exhibit, the museum also features an upper floor that focuses on the portrayal of early Arabic immigrant life and the hardships and beauty of adopting and being adopted into a new culture. These ideas culminate in a statue of an Arabic man in a brown suit with a red tie, tan loafers and cusped hands sitting on a shelf of stairs. He has a desolate yet ever determined expression and appears traditional yet progressive. This piece in particular seems to capture what this museum has strived for; a progressive, worldly man with a traditional essence about him. The museum appears to echo this in its very foundations.

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