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Poetry & Cello Performance
May 15 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
Photo from Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) performance at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2019.
Poetry Despite/Music Despite: Poetry & Cello Performance
Sunday, May 15 at 1:00 PM
Adult Ticket: $10 | Youth Ticket (Under 21): $5
Purchase tickets in advance: Click Here
Poetry Despite/Music Despite is an exhibition on view at the Rochester Art Center, April 6 – August 7, 2022. We invite you to join us for a poetry reading by curator and featured artist Aaron Hughes, Iraqi American poet and writer Dunya Mikhail and music by renowned cellist Maestro Karim Wasfi.
We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Your event ticket includes admission to all exhibitions on view.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) connects artists across time and place, from World War I to the “Global War on Terror,” from the US to Iraq. These connections acknowledge the recurring traumas of war and, conversely, the human connections that happen despite the pain.
The project emerged out of Hughes’ personal reflections on Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (originally written for the 1962 consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral), the nine poems by World War I poet Wilfred Owen featured in the War Requiem, and maestro Karim Wasfi’s “spontaneous compositions,” solo cello performances held at sites of bombings in Iraq. These works, along with Hughes’ own memories of being a U.S. soldier in Iraq in 2003-2004, resonate with each other. They facilitate connections between the current state of endless war and its historical antecedents. Aptly, Wasfi has said of his cello performances: “I was connecting everything: death, spirits, bodies, life.” Hughes was inspired to attempt something similar.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Maestro Karim Wasfi is a renowned cellist, conductor, and founder of Peace Through Arts Foundation known for his “spontaneous compositions,” solo cello performances held at sites of recent bombings in Iraq. Wasfi conducted the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra 2007-2016 and established the Italy Iraq Scholarship program in Modena as well as the British Council office in 2005. Wasfi utilizes sound resonance on the brain, neuroscience function, cultural diplomacy, a unique music and sound approach for healing, cross cultural integration, deradicalization, and prevention of tension. His innovative approach helped thousands of people in crisis areas to rise from violence, fear, and intimidation of terror, by conveying creative peaceful resonance through music, sound and arts. Wasfi’s current effort is to rebuild Iraq’s war torn areas by focusing on healing and rebuilding inner and societal peace that aims to proactively prevent future relapse into war and conflict.
Aaron Hughes is an artist, curator, organizer, teacher, anti-war activist, and Iraq War veteran. Working through an interdisciplinary practice rooted in drawing and printmaking, Hughes works collaboratively to create meaning out of personal and collective trauma, transform systems of oppression, and seek liberation. He develops projects that often utilize popular research strategies, experiments with forms of direct democracy, and operates in solidarity with the people most impacted by structural violence. Hughes works with a range of art and activist groups, including Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, About Face: Veterans Against the War, emerging Veteran Art Movement, and Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.
Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi American poet and writer. She has received fellowships from the United States Artists, the Guggenheim, and Kresge. Her honors also include the Arab American Book Award, and UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. Her book The War Works Hard was shortlisted for International Griffin Poetry Prize. New Directions published three of her other poetry books and her non-fiction The Beekeeper which was a finalist for the National Book Award and for PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award. Her debut novel The Bird Tattoo, shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, is coming out on December 6, 2022 from Pegasus. She currently works as a special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland University in Michigan.
The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project is a nonprofit founded in 2007 that builds bridges of communication, understanding, and support between Iraqis and Americans. After decades of war, sanctions and occupation, we are a space for conversations, learning, and action. Learn more at reconciliationproject.org.
Funding has been provided to the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project from the Minnesota Humanities Center through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. NEH is committed to Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP).
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Minnesota State Arts Board.