Home: The Stories of Arab Immigrant and Refugee Women
SAT August 31 | 5pm – 8pm
The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
September 1 – November 6, 2019
Home. It is a physical manifestation of our identity. As a built environment it is imbued with social and cultural meaning, while it provides shelter, security, and a place for our daily activities. Home is the surrounding landscape, both public and private. Home is also an emotional space where we find a sense of belonging and attachment.
Home is a complex concept that has a diversity of meanings for all of us, but especially for those who are displaced. In this exhibition a dozen women, from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, share their lived experiences of home…from streets filled with the scent of jasmine and tables where tea connects friends and family to the trauma of war and the need to seek refuge. Home has often been neither ‘here‘ nor ‘there‘, but somewhere in between.
For all of the women whose stories are told in this installation, this country has now become their home. The process of integration is long and complicated, filled with frustration and joy, new experiences and the heaviness of all that has been lost. Preserving their cultures, building new relationships, and feeling welcome and whole in a new place is how most now define home.
This immersive exhibition, with its art, sound, texture, food, and space for conversation, is a celebration, an education, and a call to action. The historically domestic interior of Yellow House will, for a short time, become a space where we are asked to walk in the shoes of these women and invited to sit with them at their table for shared learning and communal reflecting on the question of what is home.
As these women create a space where empathy flows freely, they are also countering the dangerous rhetoric, war mongering, and restrictive immigration policies that are far too prevalent, today and throughout America’s history. We are all asked to recognize and reject the xenophobia and racism inherent in the calls ‘to go home’, knowing that it is in the honoring of our differences and the connectedness of our humanity that our shared home is strengthened.
The Yellow House team is honored to co-create this experience with Artugee, an organization that uses art as a means for social connection, economic empowerment, and advocacy for Arab American women making their home in Northeast Florida.
The art experience, in both physical and programmatic form, was co-curated by Malath Alarnosi, Basma Alawee, and Hope McMath. The stories, messages, and tangible content was created, in part, through a series of shared workshops where more than a dozen women came together forming a gracious and courageous community of artists, storytellers, organizers, researchers, and makers of marvelous food.
Malath Alarnosi | Ban Aldalw | Dima Karoma | Neegar Ibrahim | Noor Alqaysi | Lina Elimam | Safaa Ali Dib | Samia R | Hala Khalil