“The Arts of Iraq: Artists in the Diaspora”
Saturday, Oct. 4, 11:00 a.m.
At the Performance Network Stage

On Saturday, three Iraqi artists will sit on a panel to discuss the Iraqi diaspora. Iraqi-American actor Sarab Kamoo, and Baghdad natives Rahim Alhaj and Laith Alattar (both musician/composers) bring three unique perspectives to a multilayered international issue. The issues brought up through this panel may be complex, but they take place in a safe environment — one in which art is the main focus.

The panel takes place in Ann Arbor in an effort to explore the presence and importance of the Iraqi Diaspora. The speakers are both artists and ambassadors of Iraq, but living in a country that may or may not be hostile to their nation’s way of life. Topics this weekend, however, will include things like the art of the oud (a traditional Arab string instrument) to Arab poetry to the intersection of Arab and Western cultures through musical composition, film and theater.

UMS and Performance Network are teaming up for this event, which is open to anyone in the community in order to foster a broader discussion about what’s happening in Iraq and the United States. Kamoo, the star of “Heather Raffo’s 9 Parts of Desire” — a play that explores the experience of women in a war-torn country — expressed hope that her show and other arts about Iraq and the Middle East will push people “to see things a little bit differently, to watch the news a little bit differently and try and understand people as people first.”

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