In the News

October 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

History’s Abu-Rish and Others on WOUB to Reflect on Art and Politics

Material Histories Cultures of Resistance, a sculpture

From the Material Histories Cultures of Resistance exhibit

WOUB’s Conversations from Studio B recently hosted a roundtable discussion between academics and artists on “Material Histories: Cultures of Resistance,” showing Sept. 29 through Oct. 22 at Majestic Galleries in Nelsonville, Ohio. The exhibition brings together work by contemporary ceramicists focusing on human rights, natural resources, and the intersections of the local and global in international politics.

The WOUB discussion featured Dr. Ziad Abu-Rish, Assistant Professor of History; Alex Hibbet, Chair of Ceramics; and Aaron Hughes and Shauna Merriman, artists showing work in the exhibit. Abu-Rish is director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies program at Ohio University, which is a co-sponsor of the exhibit. Other co-sponsors include the Islamic Studies program, Honors Tutorial College, School of Art + Design Visiting Artist Fund, and the Ceramics Department at Ohio University.

Abu-Rish highlighted how the exhibit complements in-class education about the MENA region. He was particularly interested in the way artistic practices can convey ideas in ways that reading or lectures cannot. One of the largest shows in the exhibit, for example, The Tea Project, conveys the diverse stories of detainees at Guantanamo Bay with both critical awareness and personal empathy. Ohio University is comprised of students, faculty, and staff that hail from a range of countries affected by the Guantanamo Bay detention program and the broader policies of the “so-called US war on terror,” Abu-Rish observed. Reflecting on what people can do, he proposed that it is not always necessary to go abroad in order to effect change. Instead, he argued, “there is too much work to be done over here, both about what the United States is doing overseas and what the government is doing within the United States.”

Listen to the full WOUB discussion featuring Abu-Rish and others.

Abu-Rish will be rejoining Hibbet and Hughes along with artist Amber Ginsburg and Dr. Loren Lybarger, Associate Professor of Classics & World Religions, at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Mitchell Auditorium, Ohio University, to further discuss the themes raised by the exhibit. The event is free and open to the public.

View the complete schedule of the Material Histories exhibit.

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