We Love Life Whenever We Can

Leyburn Library, April 1 - December 8, 2023

We Love Life Whenever We Can

Drawn from the collection of the Arab American National Museum, the first and only museum of its kind in the United States devoted to documenting, preserving, and presenting the history, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans, this exhibition presents the cultural, historical, and political legacies of five dynamic artists and scholars of Arab origin.

The title, We Love Life Whenever We Can, is inspired by verses from the late poet Mahmoud Darwish's Fewer Roses (1986). It aptly evokes the themes examined in this exhibition through a range of media and techniques: the agony of displacement, exile, and exclusion, and explores the contemporary conditions of war, conflict, and identity.

Encountering the works in this exhibition allows us to foster visibility to the often-overlooked work of Arab American artists in American contemporary arts. As the Museums at W&L continue to provide space for underrepresented artists, we invite you to reflect on conditions shaping our everyday lives relating to social justice, resistance, and survival. It features the artwork of Mary Tuma, John Halaka, Youmna Chlala, Sama Alshaibi, and Dena Al-Adeeb.

This exhibition was curated by Isra El-beshir, Director of Museums at W&L, and Jumana Al-Ahmad, Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic, in collaboration with Merrill Dowdy '23.

Above Image: THOWRA I, 2011, Photograph, Sama Alshaibi

Learn more about the artists and partners for We Love Life Whenever We Can.