The Arab American National Museum (AANM) opened in 2005 as the first and only museum dedicated to telling the Arab American story through the voices of Arab Americans. With a mission to document, preserve, and present the history, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans, AANM has always centered artists—visual, literary, musical, and dance—in its work by uplifting them through public platforms and supporting them through initiatives such as the Artists+Residents program. AANM is one of the few institutions in the United States that collects Arab American art and commissions works by Arab American artists. This talk sponsored by the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship in Islamic and Asian Art will present an overview of AANM, including the artists it has worked with and exhibited, and will explore the challenges inherent in identifying “Arab American art” as a category.
Diana Abouali is the director of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. She has held several positions before coming to AANM in 2019, including director of education, awareness and outreach at Petra National Trust (Amman, Jordan), head of research and collections at the Palestinian Museum (Birzeit, Palestine), and assistant professor at Dartmouth College. Abouali holds a PhD in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University.