Kenyon College

Arab-American Art, Film and a little Hip Hop

February 21, 2017 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Aftermath photographer Rania Matar and writer, filmmaker, performer and producer Nizar Wattad share their experiences as Arab-Americans working across and within a wide range of artistic media. Central to this conversation, moderated by visiting professor Ghassan Abou-Zeinedinne, are the ways different media can uniquely convey stories about and from the Middle East and its people.

Arab-American Art, Film and a little Hip Hop

Tuesday, February 21, 7:00 PM

Community Foundation Theater, Gund Gallery


Rania Matar, Photographer (featured in Aftermath)

Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect, she works full time as a photographer, and started teaching photography in 2009 through workshops for teenage girls in Palestinian refugee camps. Matar’s work has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, most recently at the MFA, Boston in She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World, which toured to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington DC. Additionally, Matar has been featured in exhibitions at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York; Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut; Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel; Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany; Sharjah Art Museum; National Portrait Gallery in London, among others. She has won numerous awards and a mid-career retrospective of Matar’s work is planned for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (December 2017–May 2018). Matar has published three books: L’Enfant-Femme (2016), award-winning A Girl and Her Room (2012), and Ordinary Lives (2009) and her images are in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide, including recent promised gifts to the Gund Gallery Collection from David Horvitz ’74 and Francie Bishop Good.



Nizar Wattad, Writer, Filmmaker, Performer and Producer

Palestinian-American Nizar Wattad graduated from the George Washington University in 2002 and worked as a journalist before earning a Masters degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. While at USC, Wattad began his ongoing collaboration with Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominee Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar). Wattad has conducted academic lectures and workshops worldwide, and is currently a professor at Elon University’s Los Angeles program where he teaches screenwriting, project development, and performing arts. He was a finalist for the 2006 ABC/Disney Writer’s Fellowship and the 2008 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, and was selected for the 2008 RAWI/Sundance Lab and the 2010 Dubai Film Connection. He was then recruited by Walt Disney Pictures to write their first-ever Arabic-language film, The United, which was released by Touchstone in 2012 and is currently available in over 80 countries. In addition to writing and editing scripts for studios and independent producers, Wattad has recently co-developed an original iOS/Android game for Lumba Inc., and collaborated with Detroit-based art collective Complex Movements. He executive-produced the first compilation of Arab hip-hop, and has performed on stages around the world.


Moderator: Ghassan Abou-Zeinedinne, Visiting Professor of English, Kenyon College


About the Series: Aftermath and Arab-American Art, Literature & Film

In conjunction with the Gund Gallery’s spring semester exhibition entitled, Aftermath: The Fallout of War, a series of co-sponsored events based around the theme “Aftermath and Arab America,” will feature visiting Arab-American artists, writers, performers, and critics from multiple disciplines whose work reflects the sociopolitical dynamics of Arab America. The artists and critic will offer their perspectives through open conversations about the unique role of the Arab-American artist, especially in the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11, the Iraq War, the Syrian Refugee Crisis, other regional and global conflicts and the new U.S. presidency.  

Co-sponsored by: Kenyon Review, Graham Gund Gallery, Thomas Chair in Creative Writing, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Departments of English, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Programs in Comparative World Literatures, Asian Studies, Islamic Cultures and Film Studies.


Aftermath is organized by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida and made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Harn 25th Anniversary Fund, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Joanne L. and Edward R. Block Charitable Trust, with additional support from the Harn Curator of Photography Endowment.

Gund Gallery exhibitions and public programs are supported, in part, by the Gund Gallery Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.