Mana Contemporary’s Middle East Center for the Arts (MECA) and Umm El–Fahem Gallery are pleased to present a private viewing of Textile – Territory – Text, a group exhibition that examines concepts of identity, belonging, abjection, and exile in contemporary textile art works by Middle Eastern artists, with a special one-night only performance.
6PM Doors Open
7PM – 8PM A performance by April Centrone, Bassam Saba, and Paola García
Co-founders of the New York Arabic Orchestra, April Centrone and Bassam Saba, will perform traditional and contemporary Arabic music from Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, as well as taqasim, the art of Arabic improvisation, used in many traditions including Sufi, folk, and classical music and dance. Accompanying Centrone and Bassam, Paola García will perform a Sama سَمَاع (“listening”), a traditional Sufi whirling ceremony. The Sama strives to link people of all backgrounds together through the principles of divine love, mercy, acceptance, and unity among beings. The Sama traditionally takes place amongst large groups of mostly men, but here, García practices alone.
About Textile – Territory – Text
Textile – Territory – Text, curated by Irena Gordon, is comprised of video installations, animation, painting, photography, and sculpture. It examines ways in which artists in Israel today use textile to confront issues of identity, language, and boundaries of body and space. Textile in art presents a multiplicity of constructs that evade definition, and at the same time, continues to point back to its sources, processes, and techniques. The exhibition takes in this multiplicity and through it, presents the encoding of social norms, of historical and contemporary conflicts, of personal and collective narratives—always political, always poetic.
Featuring work by: Etti Abergel, Andi Arnovitz, Asad Azi, Hila Lulu Lin Farah Kufr Birim, Fatma Shanan Dery, Mervat Essa, Leor Grady, Buthina Milhem, Yoav Raban, Farid Abu Shakra, Tal Shoshan, Nevet Yitzhak, and Amira Ziyan.
About MECA (Middle East Center for the Arts)
Conceived as a cultural hub for artists, activists, and scholars, MECA’s diverse initiatives serve as mechanisms for discourse and collaboration. It is an international foundation that presents a broad range of programs, including exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and film screenings. In 2015, MECA launched an artist residency program. By working directly with creative practitioners and institutions from the Middle East, MECA provides an inspiring epicenter for cultural exchange. For more information, click here.
About Umm El-Fahem Art Gallery
The Umm El-Fahem Art Gallery was founded in 1996, in the Arab city of Umm El-Fahem in Israel, on the initiative of local residents and artists who wanted to bring quality contemporary art to the city and its population and to exhibit original Arab and Palestinian art. With the lack of other art galleries in the Arab sector in Israel, the gallery has become an important social and cultural meeting place. Contemporary art exhibits, symposiums, creative workshops, and seminars have drawn large audiences and have established the gallery as an important center in the local and international culture scene. For more information, visit ummelfahemgallery.org.
About Bassam Saba
Bassam Saba is a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist and educator of Arabic music. A pioneer of the nay (Arabic reed flute) and playing maqam (Arabic modes) upon the western flute, Saba has has toured and collaborated with Arab stars such as Fairouz, Marcel Khalife, and Majida El-Roumi, classical/pop and jazz icons such as Yo-Yo Ma, Alicia Keys, and Quincy Jones, and performed for philharmonics around the world. Originally from Lebanon, Saba is the artistic director of the New York Arabic Orchestra, which he co-founded with April Centrone in 2007.
About April Centrone
April Centrone is a drummer and percussionist, teacher and music therapist. Originally from New York, she has given concerts and lectures around the world in Arabic percussion. Centrone began studying classical Arabic music in 2005 and in 2007 co-founded the New York Arabic Orchestra. Whilst living in Beirut, she worked with Lebanese superstar Ziad Rahbani and formed Juthoor, an Arabic music project for Syrian and Palestinian youth in refugee camps. She plays drums for an all-female rock group, Jane, in Brooklyn, as well as her own jazz band, Acada, and co-founded Hear Me Roar Women Artists events to inspire female artists to be free and empowered.
About Paola García
Paola García is a student of Sufism. Originally from Mexico, García is a New York-based writer and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies researcher at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She studies Sufi dance with Rana Gorgani, a globally renowned dancer and anthropologist based in Paris. García is also a dervish at the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Community, an order within the Halveti-Jerrahi Tariqat. This Sufi order considers all sacred traditions as a single field of divine revelation and vibrates in universal friendship with all communities.
Image: Paola García, Photograph by Jei Miretskay