Greetings to you in this period of optimism and despair. The last couple of years have been years of much action and uncertainty, and we will undoubtedly need time to reflect on all that has happened in the Arab world and how it is affecting the art world.
2012 has been a productive year for AMCA. Our membership has continued to grow steadily and H-AMCA has proved to be an invaluable source of information thanks to our amazing editor, Pamela Karimi.
In June, we held our second annual international conference, “The Longevity of Rupture: 1967 in Art and Its Histories,” held in collaboration with the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut and made possible by a generous donation from Rana Sadik and Samer Younis. It was a galvanizing two days of papers and debate. Video footage of the conference is now available on our website, thanks to our dedicated intern Nora Palandjian. In addition, a selection of papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of MIT Press’ ARTmargins.
As an affiliate of College Art Association (CAA) and Middle East Studies Association (MESA), AMCA’s active presence at both annual conferences continues. Pamela Karimi organized a special session on Artists in Times of War and Revolution at the 2012 CAA conference in Los Angeles. We also sponsored two panels at the 2012 MESA conference in Denver: In the Shadow of the Cold War: Modern Art in the Arab World (organized by Saleem al-Bahloly and Sarah Rogers and chaired by Dina Ramadan) and Arab Spring, Artistic Awakening? Art, Resistance, and Revolution (organized by Dina Ramadan and Jennifer Pruitt).
We held our annual members’ meeting at the MESA conference, where we awarded the second Rhonda A. Saad Prize for the best graduate paper in modern and contemporary art in the Arab art. This year’s recipient is Amin Alsaden, a doctoral student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, for his paper, “Baghdad’s 1974 Biennial: The Ba’ath, Arab Art, and Global Politics.” We would like to thank Hannah Feldman and Jessica Winegar as members of the selection committee for their critical engagement with the submissions.
Our November Members’ Meeting marked the end of our inaugural board’s term. I would like to profoundly thank Sarah Rogers, Dina Ramadan, and Anneka Lenssen for their dedicated service to AMCA over the past five years. It was through their energy and commitment that AMCA has developed as a vital presence in the field. I am confident that AMCA’s growth will continue with our new board. Salwa Mikdadi joins us as President-elect. Alexandra Seggerman begins her term as Secretary. Patrick Kane now serves as Treasurer. I look forward to working with them in the coming months.
Last but not least, I look forward to your continuous support and participation in AMCA’s progress. Your membership is vital for the success of AMCA, so please pay your dues, and I encourage all of you to become active members through suggestions, interactions and volunteering. We need to hear your voices and we need to continue to find creative ways to connect with colleagues in the region. We also need volunteers for the Reviews Section Committee. Please contact Salwa if you are interested.
Warm regards and best wishes for 2013,