'I AM' 31 Female Middle Eastern Artists, currently touring the US

Vanderbilt exhibit 'I AM' combats stereotypes of Middle Eastern women

September 18, 2018 - Melinda Baker

Last month, in a speech at the opening reception for Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery’s latest exhibition, “I AM: Middle Eastern Women Artists and the Quest To Build Peace,” participating Bahraini artist Sheikha Lulwa Al Khalifa succinctly refuted some common stereotypes about women in her country:  ”Our women are educated. They are empowered. They occupy top positions in both the private and public sectors. They are ministers, ambassadors, CEOs, educators, entrepreneurs. (They) represent half our work force and ... are paid equally to men. They vote. They dress however they want and they drive ... and yes, sadly, we have the same lame women driver jokes that you have here."

Rectifying Western misconceptions about Middle Eastern women, particularly Arab and Iranian women, is essential to the vision behind “I AM,” which aims to build bridges of understanding, respect and connection between the regions.  The exhibition features work by 31 acclaimed established and emerging Middle Eastern women artists from 12 countries, including women of both Christian and Muslim faiths whose art tells the truth about who they really are, how they actually live and what they are doing to help build a more harmonious world.

‘I AM’ exhibit opening draws capacity crowd to Fine Arts Gallery

September 4, 2018 - Nicholas Moore

More than 200 attendees filled the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery for the opening reception of I AM: Middle Eastern Women Artists and the Quest to Build Peace on Aug. 30. The event was hosted by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.

“We fail to leave an impact on the world unless we broadly engage the many ways that people are experiencing it. Vanderbilt and Nashville are uniquely positioned as a beacon for driving global understanding,” Zeppos told the crowd. “We welcome all voices and all ways that lead to learning.”

Other special guests included The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, founding president of CARAVAN, and featured Bahranian artist Sheikha Lulwa Al-Khalifa.

A Show Of Female Middle Eastern Artists Travels To Nashville

August 6, 2018 - IRENE PROMODH

Having just finished a two-month show in Seattle, CARAVAN takes group exhibition I AM to the Tennessee city as it continues to blaze the trail with its all-women show of Middle Eastern art.

CARAVAN, a global peace-building arts non-profit with Egyptian origin, has shaken up the Middle East with its exhibitions and international tours that have encouraged dialogue between the Middle East and the West to promote greater intercultural understanding. Founded by Paul-Gordon Chandler in 2009, the organisation has earned a reputation as a flag-bearer of peace for its efforts to break down stereotypes and bring communities together. Its success at Art Bahrain Across Borders earlier this year was marked by a Khalil Gibran-inspired exhibition that featured works by 18 Bahraini and international artists on the subject of peacebuilding. 

More here.

On The Road to Change

June 3, 2018 - Irene Promodh

CARAVAN takes group exhibition I AM to Seattle as it continues to blaze the trail with its all-women show of Middle Eastern art, writes Irene Promodh.

‘I AM’ focuses on peacebuilding through the arts

May 15, 2018 - Movers and Makers

“I AM” – a visual art exhibition celebrating the contributions of Middle Eastern women to the quest for world harmony and peace – is on display through May 27 at Christ Church Cathedral. It is free and open to the public.

The Cincinnati stop is part of a 16-month U.S. tour.

Building bridges

January 12, 2018 - Isa Jones

Artist Helen Zughaib is aware of how she gets labeled.

Despite living in the states for over three decades, she finds the phrase “Arab-American” still comes up in interviews, news releases and discussions.

“I was characterized, like it or not, as an Arab-American artist,” said Zughaib, who lives in Washington, D.C., but was born in Lebanon. “That’s who I am. I’m constantly blending East and West and trying to open this dialogue and make these small increments towards each other.”

Zughaib is one of 31 artists whose work will be displayed at the Center for the Arts as part of the “I Am” exhibit. The exhibit is the project of Caravan, a creation of Paul-Gordon Chandler, an American Episcopal priest.

I AM: New art exhibit showcases the brilliant work of contemporary Middle Eastern women

January 12, 2018 - Kelsey Dayton

There are so many misconceptions people who have never been there have about the Middle East and what it’s like to live there, said Emy diGrappa of the Wyoming Humanities Council. There are even more when it comes to what it’s like to be a woman in the area.

On Friday, people have a chance to gain a deeper insight into life in the Middle East from people who actually live there thanks to “I AM,” an exhibit featuring work from 31 contemporary Middle Eastern artists. The artists are all women and represent 12 different countries.

Two Exhibitions on Arab Art Challenge Stereotypes to Build Bridges

October 4, 2017 - Kate Oczypok

For many Americans, the Middle East is often more associated with conflict and complexity than culture and creativity. But two powerful exhibitions of Arab art at the American University Museum are designed to dispel misconceptions and build bridges.

I AM: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by CARAVAN” spotlights female artists from a dozen Middle Eastern countries as they confront issues of culture, religion and social dynamics in a rapidly changing world, both at home and abroad.

This exhibit of female Middle Eastern artists’ work aims to challenge stereotypes

September 29, 2017 - Vanessa H. Larson

“I so much believe in the positive contributions that women are making in the Middle East,” says Janet Rady, curator of “I Am,” a recently opened exhibit at the American University Museum featuring works by 31 female artists with roots in 12 countries in the region.

Caravan to the Dark Side of the Moon

September 16, 2017 - Anna Seaman

“The differences between the Muslim and Christian faiths is as slim as the sliver of a crescent moon. The dark side of the moon is what we have in common,” Reverend Paul-Gordon Chandler tells me during a trans-Atlantic Skype conversation.

CANVAS - Arts Scene London

September 11, 2017 - CANVAS

In a visual celebration of women in the arts, Janet Rady has curated a powerful show of women, by women.

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Two Arab Art Shows At American University Explore Conflict, Identity, And Community

September 4, 2017 - Staff

Thirty-one artists were invited to create an original still art work for I AM: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by CARAVAN. Also opening on September 5th at the American University Museum, the exhibition will explore the experiences of women in the Middle East.

Caravan – An Interview With Rev Paul Gordon Chandler On Arts Peacebuilding

August 20, 2017 - Rev Jonathan Evens - Artlyst

CARAVAN is the international intercultural and interreligious peacebuilding arts NGO which has brought I AM, an art exhibition showcasing the insights and experiences of Middle Eastern women, to London. In this interview Rev Jonathan Evens speaks to the President and Founder of CARAVAN, Rev Paul-Gordon Chandler, about its work and use of the Arts. Paul-Gordon is an author, interfaith advocate, social entrepreneur, art curator and a U.S. Episcopal priest who has lived and worked in the Middle East for many years.

I AM: A peace-building exhibition

August 4, 2017 - Anna Seaman

Where the dove, a formally Christian symbol, has become a universally accepted image of peace, Hanaa Malallah has reclaimed the hoopoe, a bird that appears in many Islamic religious texts, as a metaphor for the struggle to survive.

Malallah reluctantly left her homeland of Iraq after decades of war threatened her survival and is now based in London. Her 2015 work - I Have Learnt Something You Did Not Know – is one of 31 pieces on show in the St Martin In The Fields church in London’s Trafalgar Square in an exhibition aimed at peacebuilding by connecting east and west.

Glimpse of life by female Middle Eastern artists showcased in I AM exhibition

July 25, 2017 - Kerry McQueeney

An exhibition has travelled from Jordan to the UK to show the diversity and real lives of women in the Middle East, breaking down misconceptions through the work of contemporary female artist

Islamic Women Explore Their Identities In London Exhibition

July 23, 2017 - Edward Lucie-Smith

There happens to be quite a spectrum of feminist and what one might (maybe tactlessly) call ethnic exhibitions on view in London right now.

Canvas Listings

July 20, 2017 - Canvas

After a stint in Amman’s Caravan exhibition space, I AM, an exhibition of 31 Middle Eastern contemporary women artists from 12 countries, including powerful works by Raeda Saadeh (Palestine), Alia Ali (Yemen), Ghada Khunji (Bahrain), Helen Zughaib (Lebanon) and Maitha Demithan (UAE), moves to London.

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‘Punching holes in the darkness’ : Leading Middle East female artists light up London

July 19, 2017 - Denize Marray

A powerful exhibition of the work of 31 contemporary female artists from 12 Middle Eastern countries is now showing in London.

LONDON EYES: Middle Eastern Female Artists Take Centre Stage in the UK's Vibrant Art Scene This Summer

July 1, 2017 - Harpers Bazaar Arabia - Lizzy Vartanian

This summer contemporary women artists from the Middle East gear up to assert themselves through a series of exhibitions at the forefront of London's vibrant art scene. I Am exhibition is among those leading the charge........

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Path to peace: 12 women photographers in “I AM” at Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman

May 25, 2017 - Lisa Pollman

Female photographers participating in multidisciplinary exhibition seek to transcend stereotypes.