New York museum protests Trump’s travel ban through art

Museum of Modern Art in New York replaces Western art with pieces by Iranian, Iraqi and Sudanese-born artists.

Art of protest

2017-02-04 10:21:19

NEW YORK - A famed New York art museum has joined the throng of protests against President Donald Trump's travel ban by replacing Western art with pieces by Iranian, Iraqi and Sudanese-born artists.

The Museum of Modern Art said the seven works by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid and five Iranian-born artists replaced seven works by Picasso, Matisse and other Westerners.

The Republican president's explosive executive order came into effect last Friday, closing US borders to refugees for 120 days and to visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely.

The museum switched the artwork late Thursday in its fifth-floor galleries, which ordinarily are devoted to Western modernism before 1945. The changes were reported by The New York Times and confirmed by the museum.

The five Iranian-born artists are Marcos Grigorian, Los Angeles based video artist Tala Madani, photographer Shirana Shahbazi, sculptor Parviz Tanavoli and painter Charles Hossein Zenderoudi.

A large sculpture of aluminum and steel by Siah Armajani, an American artist born in Iran, was also placed in a glass-walled lobby courtyard.

The museum has similarly scheduled screenings of films from people subject to the ban, including Iraqi-born German director Kais al-Zubaidi and Oussama Mohammad, a Syrian filmmaker living in Paris.

New York, for centuries the gateway for immigrants into America, has staged multiple protests since the travel ban came into effect last Friday. Founded in 1929, the museum is one of the world's premier modern art museums.

Editors' Picks

The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

Managing Editor: Iman Zayat

Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor: Mamoon Alabbasi

Senior Editor: John Hendel

Chief Copy Editor: Richard Pretorius

Copy Editor: Stephen Quillen

Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

Syria and Lebanon Sections Editor: Simon Speakman Cordall

Contributing Editor: Rashmee Roshan Lall

Senior Correspondents: Mahmud el-Shafey (London) & Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

Regular Columnists

Claude Salhani

Yavuz Baydar


Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

Dunia El-Zobaidi (London)

Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

Thomas Seibert (Washington)

Chief Designer: Marwen Hmedi


Ibrahim Ben Bechir

Hanen Jebali

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Contact editor

Subscription & Advertising:

Tel 020 3667 7249

Mohamed Al Mufti

Marketing & Advertising Manager

Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

Al Arab Publishing House

Kensington Centre

177-179 Hammersmith Road

London W6 8BS , UK

Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

Follow Us
© The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved