Scholar to discuss Arab women artists and the conflicts of their role

Dr. Nada Shabout (Photo credit: Angilee Wilkerson, University of North Texas)

Dr. Nada Shabout (Photo credit: Angilee Wilkerson, University of North Texas)

Dr. Nada Shabout, associate professor of art history and director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Institute at the University of North Texas, will be a guest lecturer next week at St. Thomas.

Her lecture, "The Right to 'Be': Arab Women Artists and Conflicts," at 7 p.m. Friday, April 16, in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium, explores the intensified attention given to Arab women artists, their position in contemporary discourse on art and their role in forming and critiquing culture. Shabout also will consider the perception – which is disputed and resented by the women themselves -- that they are generally excluded from public life.

"While not much is known about Arab art of the modern age, less is known about Arab's women's perception in the visual arts," Shabout writes.

Shabout's lecture, free and open to the public, is held in connection with “Sabeel: Artistic Journeys From Arab Lands to America” a juried exhibit by Arab-American artists, open through May 24 in St. Thomas' Lobby Gallery in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center. It features 23 mixed-media works exploring the unique experience of Arabs living in America.

A reception follows Shabout's lecture. The evening also features Middle Eastern food, music, dance and film.

Shabout is author of Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics (University of Florida Press, 2007); co-editor of New Vision: Arab Art in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson, 2009; and founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey.  Since 2003 she has been working on the recovery, documentation and digitization of modern Iraqi heritage, particularly the collection previously held at the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art.