Syrian-born artist Nabil Mousa makes use of the American flag in work that look at freedom and homosexual rights in America.
(Picture: Michael H. Hodges / Detroit Information)
Like many immigrants, Syrian-born Nabil Mousa is dizzily in love with America.
The Atlanta-based artist, who first landed on these shores at age 12, has a present, “American Panorama,” on the Arab American Nationwide Museum by way of April eight.
The exhibition is Mousa’s hypothesis on being homosexual on this nation, and his personal seek for identification and sense of belonging. Many of the work on show riff on the American flag. However you’ll be flawed for those who took these intriguingly distorted, stylized banners as some kind of anti-American assault.
Fairly the opposite. For Mousa, 51, the flag represents the nation’s highest aspirations, nevertheless brief it could fall in precise apply.
“Who doesn’t recognize the American flag?” he requested with fun. However then he turned severe, and it’s clear how deep his considerations run.
“Being from the Center East, folks generally suppose we’re not patriotic,” Mousa stated. “However we’re really extra patriotic than many Individuals, as a result of we all know what it’s like to not have a voice and to not have freedom.”
Purchase PhotoSyrian-born artist Nabil Mousa makes use of the American flag in work that look at freedom and homosexual rights in America in “American Panorama.” (Picture: Michael H. Hodges / The Detroit Information)
That is notably the case for a homosexual man, given the area’s blanket, and sometimes violent, condemnation of homosexuality. Certainly, in a few of their most-chilling movies, the so-called Islamic State filmed accused homosexuals being thrown to their deaths from tall buildings.
Nonetheless, Mousa — whose Syrian household largely banished him when he got here out as homosexual — isn’t any harmless, and acknowledges how worry may be mobilized for political impact.
He factors particularly to the second Bush election in 2004, when the “risk” of homosexual marriage was broadly broadcast, allegedly to awaken conservative voters and get them to the polls.
He additionally remembers the Division of Homeland Safety bumping its terror-alert shade code to orange, or “excessive” hazard, all through a lot of that interval — which he calls one other try to sow worry and nervousness.
Consequently, Mousa makes use of orange as a visible metaphor by way of a lot of this work — typically within the type of brief, sharp slashes that minimize throughout the orderly cloth of his flags.
“On this context, I consider orange as representing ignorance,” he stated, “and with ignorance, worry develops.” Each, he argues, are poisonous to democratic freedoms.
Blue denims belonging to Nabil Mousa’s husband make an look in a single portray, together with a homosexual image for equality. (Picture: Michael H. Hodges / Detroit Information)
Museum curator Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, who organized “American Panorama,” says it’s on this respect that Mousa’s work is explicitly political.
And whereas the place of homosexuals is central to Mousa’s artwork and considerations, not one of the work within the exhibition are within the least sexual. (One contains an precise pair of his husband’s sexily ripped blue denims, however that’s so far as it goes.)
“The work isn’t about his sexuality,” Sullivan stated. “It’s about civil rights, equality and justice, and treating all Individuals the identical.”
Consequently, she stated, the museum — a few of whose patrons are deeply conventional and conservative — hasn’t gotten any blowback for internet hosting a present by an overtly homosexual artist.
Certainly, the response seems to have been overwhelmingly optimistic.
When he spoke on the museum in November, Mousa says younger folks flocked to thank him for bringing the query of homosexual rights out into the open in an Arab-American context.
“They stated they’d been making an attempt to belong for therefore lengthy,” he stated, “and that for the primary time they felt actually linked to the museum.”
Artist Nabil Mousa, who immigrated to America when he was 12, lives in Atlanta. (Picture: Lorikay Stone)
‘American Panorama: An Exploration of Artwork and
Humanity by Nabil Mousa’
By way of April three
Arab American Nationwide Museum
13624 Michigan, Dearborn
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays
$eight adults; $four college students and educators with ID; kids 6-12, and seniors 59 and over
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