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IAIA to Open Nabil Kanso: Endless Night on April 30, 2024

Endless Night: Nabil Kanso

Curated by Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani

April 30 - August 24, 2024

Institute of Arab and Islamic Art

22 Christopher St, New York NY, 10014













                   Soaring Load (1988), Oil on linen 86 x 119.5


Now on View at the High Museum of Art: Nabil Kanso: Journey of Art for Peace
(December 2023 - Fall 2024)  

Lebanese American artist Nabil Kanso (1940–2019) lived and worked in Atlanta during the last four decades of his life. Like other neo-expressionist painters, Kanso championed painterly, figurative expressionism in reaction to the dominant modes of conceptualism and minimalism in the 1970s. Impacted by a fifteen-year civil war in his home country of Lebanon, Kanso identified with the ongoing struggles for civil and human rights in the United States.

Produced between 1974 and 1994, Kanso’s series of eighty murals titled “The Split of Life” was the core of his ambitious traveling exhibition “The Journey of Art for Peace,” which chronicled pivotal moments in world history marked by war and strife, including violent chapters from the five-hundred-year history of Kanso’s adopted country. By tackling subjects such as the systematic forced removal of Native peoples from their ancestral lands, the inhuman violence of slavery and racial terrorism, and the destruction of life in the American Civil War, Kanso aimed to educate the public through his mural-sized paintings by reckoning with the past in order to achieve progressive social change and to shift the actions of political leaders toward social justice and peace. 

Right to left: Bleeding Eagles, The Split (North South Split), Chains Under the Blinding Sun, 1989–1992

















AMCA Announces Rachel Winter as the recipient of the inaugural Salwa Mikdadi Research Award.

April 20, 2023:

Rachel Winter, Assistant Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, is currently researching Nabil Kanso’s (b. 1940, Lebanon-d. 2019, Atlanta) six decades of visual thinking around the Lebanese Civil War in preparation for an exhibition at the MSU Broad Art Museum from February–July 2025 that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War. Tentatively titled Lebanon, the exhibition centers on the monumental painting Scorching Sparks, which has never been shown before. Other accompanying paintings, sketchbooks, photographs, and videos will illuminate how the artist saw his estranged home in Lebanon and ruminated on the complexities of the Lebanese Civil War. During her research trip to Atlanta, Winter will work with the Estate of Nabil Kanso to not only study Scorching Sparks, but to explore the breadth of the artist’s work and review archival material, such as journals and photographs, that help illuminate the artist’s thinking on home, war, and global injustice.

The award was initiated by AMCA in 2022 in recognition of the pioneering work of Professor Salwa Mikdadi. Makdadi’s contributions have been instrumental in the development of the field, culminating in the establishment of al-Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art at NYUAD. With the establishment of this award, AMCA seeks to highlight the importance of archival research and its dissemination while honoring the legacy of Makdadi’s career. The research travel grant aims to help scholars realize archival research they are not otherwise able to undertake.

Read more details here. 


Nabil Kanso to be featured in exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Tourcoing - "Picasso et les Avant-Gardes Arabes" 


April 2 through July 10, 2022, Kanso's work will be featured along with archival materials in the group exhibition organized by the Institut du Monde Arabe in collaboration with Le Musée national Picasso-Paris. Read more details here


Research Fellowship and Publication Opportunity

For Immediate Release:


June 9, 2021


The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) (in conjuction with Nabil Kanso Estate) is thrilled to award the AMCA-Nabil Kanso Estate Fellowship for the summer of 2021 to Meriam Soltan of Aga Khan Program at MIT. The committee was impressed with Meriam's previous archival work, her thoughtful and responsible approach to the artist and his archive, and her scholarship thus far.

This unique and one-time fellowship will begin on July 1st 2021 with a generous grant to cover travel to and from the Kanso archive in Atlanta, housing, and a living stipend for the designated 4-5 weeks of research onsite at the Nabil Kanso Estate Nabil Kanso. Following the archival research trip, Meriam will have the opportunity to publish her research on Nabil Kanso as part of the Anthem-AMCA publishing series.

About Meriam: Meriam Soltan is an architect and writer interested in the intersections of language, design, and worldbuilding. She works to explore the design of fictions and how they are manifested in various contexts politically, culturally, and otherwise. In doing so, she hopes to better understand how various lived realities are fabricated, and how the parameters defining these stories might in turn be challenged. Meriam received her BArch from AUB in 2019 and is currently pursuing her SMArchS at MIT.

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