Anas Albraehe, Dream Catcher, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Rose Issa Projects.

Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Gallery to Open in Washington, DC

The Middle East Institute (MEI), the oldest Washington, DC–based organization dedicated to scholarship on the Middle East, will open a gallery devoted to contemporary art from the region on September 14. Located at 1763 N Street NW, near Dupont Circle, MEI Art Gallery will strive to support Middle Eastern artists and promote cross-cultural dialogue. Its launch will coincide with the ninth iteration of the DC-wide arts festival Art All Night.

“We want to provide a platform for the Middle East’s leading and emerging artists to engage with US audiences and the local DC community,” said Kate Seelye, vice president of the institute’s arts and culture program. “With thoughtfully curated and accessible exhibitions, free talks, and film screenings, it’s a welcoming place for people to discover a new perspective on the region and to celebrate its rich culture.”

Curated by Rose Issa, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Arabicity|Ourouba,” will showcase the work of seventeen artists, including Syrian artist Anas Albraehe, Egyptian artist Fathi Hassan, and Moroccan artist Batoul Shimi, and will run through November 22.

Commenting on the exhibition, Lyne Sneige, the MEI’s director of arts and culture, said that it “touches on themes of memory, identity, war, reconstruction, displacement, and a host of other issues affecting the region at this critical time with sensitivity, depth, beauty, and even humor.” She added: “The diverse works on view convey not only the challenges and problems facing the region, but also the incredible humanity, richness, and resilience of its artists and people.”