Childhood, innocence, playful
"Nostalgia," highlights the unity of those from the Middle East and celebrates their unique contributions to this vast global region.
While considered to be a specific part of the world, the Middle East region encompasses many places that Middle Easterners have migrated to and shared their culture with: from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, to the Mediterranean Sea of North Africa, to the Persian Gulf. The image of such a broad swath of land creates a vision of shared ties – as well as divergences. Until the beginning of the 20th century Western colonial powers occupied the territory, having divided it into smaller, distinct countries that separated and splintered families and tribes. The Nationalist Movement changed this: Indigenous peoples resisted the occupation and country by country, drove out colonialists from the 1940s through the 1960s.
With independence, however, comes chaos. Colonialism left behind a legacy of division that paralyzed the region and the peoples – and opened the door for more recent upheavals, beginning in 1991 with the Persian Gulf War through the current wars with Afghanistan and Iraq. And what had been a regional ticking time bomb has very recently exploded, in gory detail, with the arrival of the Islamic State.
“Nostalgia” is retaliation to such adversity. This exhibit tells the often forgotten story of the beauty and peace that was once commonplace in the region. It offers a glimpse of a millennia-old Middle Eastern culture, rich in diversity of ideas. And it showcases the power of visual art to communicate…and change lives.