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The New World evokes the history of the first waves of Arab immigrants to the United States, beginning in the 1880s, through elements drawn from the archives of the Faris and Yamna Naff Arab American Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington DC.
For the Cosmopolis #1 exhibition at Centre Pompidou, we presented the first episode of The New World. The installation incorporates a map and a video narrating the travels of Amer and Sana Khaddaj, Lebanese musicians of Palestinian origin who migrated to the United States in 1947.
The New World, 2017, video stills
Wall drawing, Centre Pompidou, Cosmopolis #1
Background information about our research process:
During summer 2015 we began research at the unique Faris & Yamn Naff Arab American Collection at the Smithsonian Archive Center in Washington DC. Alixa Naff, founder of this collection, travelled through the United States from the 1960’ s through to the 1980’s to collect small stories of ordinary people from Middle Eastern decent, bringing us a fresh look at what it means to be Arab-American.
We spent weeks exploring the archive to find remains of first generation immigrants who arrived in the United States from as early as 1880. The Alixa Naff collection brings together personal archives of photographs, documents and sound recordings. Foundland will be working to bring together an exhibition about our findings during the upcoming year.
A map of trade routes developed by Arabic speaking traders in the USA.
Al- Funoon was an arts publication printed in the
Palestinian identity card belonging to Adla Khadaj, used to enter the United States.
Personal documents belonging to Amer Khaddaj, 1953.
Inside the office of Al-Hoda, an Arabic daily news publication, printed in New York City in Arabic under the editorial guidance of prominent Arab Americans, such as writer Habieb Khatibah (3rd left, at top).
Litia Namoura (wife of Habieb Khatibah) visits the Statue of Liberty for the first and only time, 1954.
Cover of “The Syrian Ark” magazine, Miss Ohio, Marie Marg't LaHoud on the cover, August 1950.
This project was realised with help of the prestigious Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship scholarshipin 2015.

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