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September 14, 2018


Maktub is a three-person exhibition by Lamia Abukhadra, Essma Imady, and Zeinab Saab. The exhibition deals with the history of three SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) women living in the diaspora, and their relationship to their native lands - Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon - and the importance of preserving their history and culture through the art of bookmaking.

Emphasis on artist books plays a significant role in this exhibition. Most individuals develop an intimate relationship with books, from the way we physically handle them, to the way we hold on to their words, we wanted the audience to do the same with these books as well. Our stories are political and personal, and we wanted the audience to develop an intimate relationship with our stories and to carry them forward into the future, as well as raise awareness to other identities living in diaspora that we are not alone. 

With the help of Unpacked Mobile Gallery we were able to show this exhibition from their space, giving us the ability to physically travel with these works around Chicago, especially in areas where access to art spaces are limited. Although this show is centered around the SWANA identity, we wanted to travel with this exhibit to areas within Chicago that are heavily populated with folx living in diaspora, so we could exchange our experiences and stories with theirs as a form of solidarity. 

Maktub is an Arabic word that translates to “it is written.” The exhibiting artists are Lamia Abukhadra, who is of Palestinean descent, Essma Imady, Syrian descent, and Zeinab Saab, of Lebanese descent.

- Words and curation by Zeinab Saab

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