Dearborn, Mich. (June 1st, 2017) – Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art in Dearborn, MI represents the first exhibition of its kind from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to appear in Michigan. This timely exhibition opens at the Arab American National Museum (AANM) on July 8, 2017, and runs through October 1, 2017.

Epicenter X explores contemporary Saudi culture by promoting meaningful dialogue between Saudi artists and U.S. audiences. Furthermore, the exhibition sheds light on the vast diversity of contemporary artistic practice in Saudi Arabia. Cutting through the political discourse of media outlets and government officials, the artworks featured in this exhibition open doors to the lives of the Saudi people. In doing so, this presentation will challenge common views and stereotypes of Arab culture by lending voice to artists exploring poignant ideas centered on urbanization, globalization, religion and the impact of American popular culture in Saudi society.

Both Dearborn, Michigan, and Saudi Arabia serve as iconic social and cultural epicenters. Dearborn lays claim to the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S., and has been the final destination for immigrants from the Arab World for nearly a century. Saudi Arabia is home to the two holiest sites of Islam and functions at a crossroads of culture, most notably during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

The exhibition comes not long after President Trump’s much-publicized visit to Saudi Arabia.

“Despite its position as an ally of the United States, little is known about Saudi culture and its citizens for many in our nation,” says AANM Director and curator of Epicenter X, Devon Akmon. Ithra Director, Tareq Alghamdi, continues: “We are pleased to provide an opportunity for Saudi artists to showcase their work in The Arab American National Museum. This exhibition fosters cross cultural dialogue, and offers the chance for a wider audience to engage with the diversity within Saudi art.”

A variety of works in diverse mediums by both established and emerging artists will be featured in the exhibition. Highlights include photographs by current AANM resident artist, Ayman Yossri Daydban; Ahmed Mater’s Golden Hour photograph from his Desert of Pharan series; Qamar Abdulmalik’s Asylum of Dreams installation; Marwah Al Mugait’s latest video installation We Were; Abdullah Al Othman’s multi-channel video installation The Experiment from the No-touch Torture Series; and. Also featured in Epicenter X are three contemporary Qut murals, created in the age-old traditional style of house-painting by skilled female artisans from Southwestern Saudi Arabia.

Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art in Dearborn, MI is organized by the Arab American National Museum in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, and is produced with support from CULTURUNNERS.

About The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (ithra)

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, simply known as ithra, is a one-of-a-kind institution that brings together multiple offerings under one roof. From arts and culture to science and innovation, this bold initiative by Saudi Aramco promises a continuous journey of enrichment designed to energize the next knowledge economy of Saudi Arabia.

We aim to make a positive and tangible impact on the cultural scene by focusing on building local talents in the knowledge and creative industries. Blending iconic architectural design with advanced technology, and unique learning methods with enriching programs, ithra is an infinitely inspiring platform for explorers, learners, creators, and leaders – a thriving hub of knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement.

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strives to achieve its ambitious national development goals to transition to a knowledge-based economy, ithra acts as a bridge connecting cultures and cultivating a creative and innovative community.

At ithra, we believe in the power of people and ideas to unlock new possibilities: the future is what we make of it

About The Arab American National Museum (AANM)

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.

AANM – an institution of Dearborn, Mich.-based human-services agency ACCESS – is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free.

Visit www.arabamericanmuseum.org or call 313.582.2266 for further information.


Ayman Yossri Daydban, Yusef Al Ahmad, Amr Alngmah, Arwa Al Naemi, Ahmed Angawi, Abdulnasser Gharem, Ajlan Gharem, Musaed Al Hulis, Nugamshi, Marwah Al Mugait, Mawadah Muhtasib, Abdullah Al Othman, Nasser Al Salem, Shaweesh, Qamar Abdulmalik.