After the world saw the immigration ban against seven Muslim countries come into fruition beginning last month, people have chosen a way to speak out against the atrocity. The ban includes women and small children, whole families who are looking to start a new, better life in America, and college students seeking a good education.
Thousands of people chose to protest at airports around the nation, and some chose to take on their lawyer duties and work pro-bono to help these people get admitted to the U.S. because they feel it is morally right. However, the MoMA took a different stance. They're highlighting the stunning works of Middle Eastern artists as a way to bring attention to, and honor, just some of the beautiful pieces that have been done by immigrants.
Here are five Middle Eastern artists you need to know in the midst of this Muslim Ban, and whose art is currently on display at the MoMA.
1. Zaha Hadid
Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, and grew up to study math at the American University of Beirut. In 1972, she moved to London to study at the Architectural Association. In 1980, she began her own architecture practice. Throughout her life she has had many of her pieces as part of exhibitions worldwide. She is known for several of her mesmerizing pieces, including Vitra Fire Station (1993), in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome (1999) in Greenwich, UK, a ski jump (2002) in Innsbruck, Austria, and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (2003) in Cincinnati, Ohio. She passed away in March 2016 at the age of 65, but her work continues to be remembered and celebrated.
2. Ibrahim El-Salahi
Born in Omdurman, Sudan in 1930, Ibrahim El-Salahi grew up to become a respected modernist artist who has created beautiful art that mixes elements of modern art and his own Sudanese culture. He eventually moved to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Aside from his artwork, he was involved in working for the Sudanese Embassy in Britain, and worked as Deputy Under Secretary of Culture at the Ministry of Information in Sudan. He is a Sufi Muslim, and has lived in Qatar, London, Sudan, and Oxford.
3. Tala Madani
Madani uses a mix of bold colors, storytelling skills, and dark humor to bring her pieces to life. According to Pilar Corrias, "Madani’s more descriptive and intimately scaled paintings, and painterly video animations, depict uncomfortable scenes in which bald, middle-aged men engage in absurd scenarios that fuse playfulness with violence and perversity." She received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006. Her work has been shown in several exhibitions around the world, including in London, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Taipei, Bristol, and Amsterdam.
4. Siah Armajani
Iranian-born Siah Armajani moved in 1960 from Iran to the U.S. in order to go to Macalester College in Minnesota. His art mixes together art and architecture, and often centers around literary, philosophical, and political figures and ideas. He was a psychology major while in college, and even when he was a student in Tehran, was drawn to texts by American philosophers and writers. He has created public structures, like bridges and gardens, and has said, “I am interested in the nobility of usefulness. My intention is to build open, available, useful, common, public gathering places—gathering places that are neighborly.”
5. Charles Houssein Zendourudi
Charles Houssein Zendourudi was born in Tehran in 1937 and attended the Fine Art College of Tehran University in order to study painting. His unique style of painting combines elements of Iranian-Islamic traditions and calligraphy. He is the mind behind the Saqqa-khaneh movement, which pushed to incorporate more national, folkloric, and religious elements into Iranian art, according to the Leila Heller Gallery. His art is consistently a beautiful ode to his Iranian culture and roots. His work has been featured in many different collections including London's British Museum, Paris’s Centre Pompidou and Copenhagen’s Statens Museum, and now the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC. He currently lives in Paris and NYC.
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