Saudi based Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri travels to New York for the first time for a series of on-site investigations of historic sites in New York City that he has previously only been able to research from afar, including at The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center in Harlem. After this visit he decides to donate a project to the center concerning the letter Malcom X written in 1964 from Mekkah. His encounter with artist and street vendor, Hazim Tawfiq, defines the direction of this project.
Ayman Yossri Daydban was born in Palestine in 1966, and has lived all his life in Saudi Arabia. Daydban’s is often a reflection of his life; a life afflicted with issues of identity and belonging. Many consider his work to be political, as much of it focuses on the deconstruction of the Palestinian national narrative. However, it is in fact deeply personal and has little political agenda beyond his search for a sense of self.
His last name ‘Daydban’ means watchman, a mask that observes the viewer and its surroundings while at the same time remaining detached from them. There is an unbridgeable opposition between the watchman and what is being watched: They seem to be in different worlds, while in such close proximity, producing enormous tension.
Ava Ansari is an artist, educator, and curator. She is the associate curator of The Edge of Arabia US Tour, where she recently co-curated the Culturunners Storytelling Symposium hosted by MIT's Art, Culture and Technology Program. She is the co-founder of The Back Room, a curatorial and pedagogical project that facilitates exchanges between artists and scholars in Iran and the US. Recent projects include, Open Relationship, an eight-week workshop developed in collaboration with CultureHub in New York, Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art in Tehran, and Mani Studio in Isfahan; I Am Only a Reporter, an exhibition of later works by Ardeshir Mohassess, Modern Section of Art Dubai, 2014; A Call, a project conceptualized with Wafaa Bilal and eighty participating performers, which opened concurrently at Aaran Gallery in Tehran, and White Box in New York. As an artist, Ansari has presented work at ISEA2014, Dixon Place, La Mama, Eyebeam, the AC Institute, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, among others.
Stephen Stapleton is an artist, curator, and co-founder of Edge of Arabia and The Crossway Foundation. After an artist's journey across the Middle East in 2003, he founded both organizations as platforms for creative collaboration and cultural activism between the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. Since 2008, he has produced a number of landmark international exhibitions including Never Never Land, EOA London Gallery (2014), Rhizoma, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); #COMETOGETHER, East London (2012); We Need to Talk, Jeddah (2012); The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Terminal, Dubai (2011); and Edge of Arabia, University of London (2008). He has also published several artists' books including "Offscreen: Four Young Artists in the Middle East" (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2004) and "Edge of Arabia" (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2010). He has a degree in fine art and philosophy from the University of Brighton, a PGCE in art education from the University of London. As an artist, he has exhibited in Tehran, Amman, London, Oslo and New York.
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