At age 16, Saudi-Arabian artist Hend Al-Mansour joined Medical School in Cairo University, Egypt. Although, she has been making art all her life, she chose to pursue a career as a doctor, which allowed personal freedom and social status that have not been accessible otherwise in Arabia. After years of practicing medicine, she seized an opportunity to come to the United States in 1997. Living as an independent woman in America she no longer needed the conditions that medical career offered. Realizing that art was the one thing that deeply fulfilled her soul she decided to shift career from medicine to art.
In 2002 she obtained a Master of Fine Art from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has participated in local and national art shows, given speeches about Arab art and her personal journey, and curated exhibitions featuring Middle Eastern artists. In her quest to discover the nature of Arab art and how she relates to it, she has joined an Art history Master program at St. Thomas University. In this program she has been examining art from a different perspective and trying to trace the invisible path of Arab artistic production in the pre-Islamic era.
Al-Mansour’s work makes references to the identity and gender politics in Arab society and in Islamic teaching. Her style pays homage to Arabic and Islamic art forms.
She is currently the chair of the Arab American Cultural Institute in Minnesota where she works to promote the understanding and expression of Arab culture in the West.
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Mona Hassan is an artist who has her own method of painting migrating between impressionism, expressionism and surrealism, and often combining different schools in one painting. However, Expressionism is her main passion as can be seen in many of her paintings. Mona moves easily from pastel to oil pastel, watercolor to oil, gouache to ink. Pastel is the medium that truly exemplifies Mona’s talent in producing her unique colors and shapes. Mona's emphases on design and composition using a full spectrum of color in all her artwork have become her trademark. Mona has exhibited Nationally Throughout Egypt, and internationally in Spain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Germany,England, United states and Saudi Arabia.
I am deeply involved in various projects and activities relating to poetry, spoken word, jazz and literary translation. Last summer, I have been awarded Aimee Grunberger scholarship by Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University to participate in a creative writing summer program. I have been invited to read at various venues in the USA such as Moe’s Books in San Francisco with Michael Rothenberg, Terri Carrion and Youssef Alaoui, the Bowery Poetry Club with Bob Holman; the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center near Sedro Wooley and Wedgwood Ale House in Seattle with Paul Nelson; the Laughing Goat in Boulder, CO with Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye and Corners of the Mouth in San Luis Obispo with Kevin Patrick Sullivan, Paul Corman-Roberts and Youssef Alaoui, and at Shambhala Mountain Center with Christopher Seelie and others.
As part of my experience with 100 Thousand Poets for Change, I edited and translated an anthology of contemporary Moroccan poetry which has been published by Big Bridge Magazine. I am also translating a collection of poems entitled Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story by the precursor of 100 TPC, Michael Rothenberg; which is going to be published by Al Kotob Khan in Cairo. I have also been waived a tuition by the Woolf Institute to take online course on Judaism and Islam, an experience which helped me reconsider issues relating to cultural differences and religious. My interest in the effect of poetry on the individual subjectivity and poetics in general led me to apply for a scholarship to take an online course given by Chicago School of Poetics. My poems have been published in various international literary magazine, journals and reviews such as Big Bridge Magazine, Danse Macabre du Jour, Contemporary Literary Review India, Palestine Chronicle, Troubadour 21, Sagarana , Istanbul Literary Review, Indigo Rising Magazine, Radiuslit, Pirene’s Fountain, the Tower Journal, and the Romanian Contemporary Critical Horizons for which I volunteered as a contributor in 2011-2012. My translation of a collection of poems by the exiled Iranian poet Ali Abdelrezaei is available in poetrymag.ws. My poem “A Night in Tunisia” has been translated into Italian and Romanian. Two of my papers have been published in the African Journal of History and Culture, and the Contemporary Literary Review India. My latest paper will be published by Xenophile, a journal of comparative literature published by the University of Georgia, Athens.
I really enjoyed my last poetic quests in the American West and Northwest. I enjoyed meeting other poets and writers I have been exchanging massages with for quite a long time. I was very fortunate to be invited by Paul Nelson to the North Cascades where we also give a talk and a poetry reading as invited poets for the center's Poets on the Peaks annual event. We also had dinner with the poet and translator my friend Sam Hamill whose poems I translated into Arabic. My article on Sam Hamill's life and work has just been published by Al-Quds Al-Arabi in two different journals/magazines. Here is a link http://www.alquds.co.uk/?p=103838
Joanne is fascinated by the extra-ordinariness of people’s daily life and hyper-aware of the connection we have to emotive images and words. She is a multi-media artist who is committed to community collaboration. Genuinely curious about both the private world of people and public spaces, it is in this interaction that her photography and video work, becomes its own individual world. Working in community consultation for over 15 years, she has been able to blend her experience with passion for visual language. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Art Education from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. Recent works include multi media solo show “I Want to Know What Love Is”, Outdoor video mapping project HIGHRISE: An intimate portrait of a vertical neighbourhood and public art commissions for Blacktown, Bankstown and Canada Bay City Councils.
Kay moved to the US with her family when she was 7 years old. She received her BS from Oklahoma State University in Sociology and Art History, with a specialty in African art and did her college internship in Walt Disney World. Kay moved to Seattle in 1992 and started volunteering at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), where she has been a Docent since 1996. In 2001, Kay received her Masters from the University of Washington from the Jackson School of International Studies, with an interest in Middle East studies and also obtained a Museumology certificate from the Burke Museum. She also founded Arab Artists Resources & Training, an international non-profit that lists over 500 Arab artists and organizations worldwide, in June of 2001. Kay was an Arts Commissioner for the City of Redmond for 6 years and has also served on the Salaam Cultural Museum board and African Council at SAM. Kay was Board Director of the Arab Center of Washington from 2005 to 2007 and worked extensively on the 2005 Arab Festival as Grant Writer and a member of the Steering Committee. She was Producer of the 2007 Arab Festival. In 2008, she started her company A Crafty Arab, which sells Arab arts and crafts primarily on www.zibbet.com/acraftyarab, along with local festivals and fairs.