On the occasion of the United Nation’s International Day of Peace – September 21, 2014 – the Rothko Chapel, in partnership with Art Jameel, will host the launch of CULTURUNNERS, an independent artists’ expedition and core component of Edge of Arabia’s US Tour. In the spirit of the Chapel’s humanist mission to inspire people to action through art and contemplation and to provide a forum for global concerns, this event brings together pioneering artists, scholars and community groups to cultivate new perspectives on cultural collaboration. This collaborative event, which is a core component of Edge of Arabia’s multi-year journey between the Middle East and the United States, aims to assess the potential of artists’ journeys to connect people through creativity and beyond identities defined by culture, religion, nation, citizenship, economic status, profession, gender or age.
Supported by FotoFest International and the Arab American Cultural and Community Center of Houston (ACC), the evening kicks off with an inter-generational, cross-cultural discussion on the role of artists’ journeys in generating positive social change. Participants include Edge of Arabia co-founder Stephen Stapleton, as well as award-winning Houston-based photographers and founders of the FotoFest Biennial, Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss and Palestinian artist, Taysir Batniji. Rice University Professor Ussama Makdisi, renowned scholar of US-Middle Eastern cultural relations, will moderate the discussion. The panel discussion will be followed by ‘journey’ film screenings by Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater.
Over the next three years, CULTURUNNERS will travel across the US, communicating and archiving new forms of creative collaboration between American communities and the Middle East. An independent artistic collaboration led by US based artists from MIT's Art, Culture and Technology Program, Azra Aksamija and Peter Schmidt, and Edge of Arabia co-founder Stephen Stapleton, the project will launch in Houston this September and thereafter begin its journey up the East Coast, stopping off along the way at Louisiana State University and communities in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Massachusetts, with a number of major events to be announced in October 2014.
Free and open to the public, the events on 21st September open The Rothko Chapel’s season of events on Art, Spirituality and Nonviolence. For more information on the schedule of the evening’s events, please visit: http://edgeofarabia.com/featured_exhibitions