Getting down to art business…

My Palestinian artist friend, Ahmad Canaan – with whom I worked on artistic endeavors twenty years ago in Palestine and the United States – recently left after visiting me for five days. The purpose of his visit was to be a liaison for finding the Palestinian women embroiderers for my art salon, to introduce me to established male artists from whom I will select seven to include their work in the art salon exhibition, and to help secure a gallery space for this exhibition in January.

Artist Ahmad Canaan
Artist Ahmad Canaan

Securing an exhibition at a top notch gallery within a four month time frame is not an easily reached goal – here or anywhere else! Gallery exhibitions are normally scheduled one to two years in advance. Before Ahmad’s departure today – miracle of miracles – these goals were accomplished!

Ahmad Canaan’s Facebook page:

Shortly after Ahmad’s arrival he introduced me to a photographer, Abed Al Raheem Al Arjan, who has volunteered to contribute in major ways to securing excellent press coverage and opportunities for the exhibition.

Photographer Abed Al Raheem Al Arjan ("Raheem")
Photographer Abed Al Raheem Al Arjan (“Raheem”)

Raheem has personal relationships with everyone in the art world in Jordan, including the press and media throughout the Arab world, and is dedicated to establishing formats for the exhibition of contemporary art. He is also a laudable professional photographer.

Abed Al Raheem Al Arjan’s Facebook page:

Raheem drove Ahmad and I to Madaba, 20 miles SW of Amman, via the scenic route. We passed through the outskirts of Amman and small villages. On the way we stopped at Hisban, where Raheem’s father and grandfather lived and raised sheep. On the top of the hill is an old castle in disrepair. Luckily, I was able to snap a few photos before my twenty-five year old pocket camera was relegated to the trash.

We then proceeded to Madaba, a major tourist and Pilgrimage destination, known for it’s Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. It houses the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist, and the oldest existing mosaic map of Palestine…

…and numerous other mosaic floors. Madaba is affectionately referred to as “mosaic city.”  [Click on photos to enlarge]:

Raheem currently has an exhibition of his photography (and his private art collection) in a Contemporary Art Gallery he established in the Historic Museum in Madaba.

After viewing Raheem’s exhibition and the historic museum collection we had coffee, smoked sheesha and had dinner at the newly-constructed restaurant next to the museum: Rakwet Cafe. The restaurant owner, Azziz, also has a restaurant in Paris Circle (I posted photos of his restaurant on my blog previously – the photos of the gorgeous tiles and ceilings) and another restaurant in Downtown Amman.


Raheem with Rakwet Cafe  owner, Azziz
Raheem with Rakwet Cafe owner, Azziz

The two owners of the Rakwet Cafe, Azziz and his partner, were being interviewed by Jordan Television while we were smoking sheesha and drinking Turkish coffee. Jordan television also interviewed Raheem.

Jordan TV interviewer and Raheem
Jordan TV interviewer and Raheem

After the filming concluded, we smoked more sheesha and Raheem showed my Family Ties-Occupation Art book, which I had self-published, to Azziz. Azziz expressed interest in publishing my book because, “It shows that all Americans don’t think the same.” He requested to keep the book for a few days and he and his partner generously graced us with a delicious dinner.

Raheem with sheesha
Raheem with sheesha

My book Family Ties: Occupied Art on

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