Model Role Details

Salwa Mikdadi

Salwa Mikdadi

Sector : Cultural Figures , Writers

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : United States
  • Gender : Female
  • Born in : 1948
  • Age : 68
  • Curriculum vitae :


For more than two decades, Palestinian-American art curator Salwa Mikdadi has been a driving force in the world of Arab art.
Born in 1948 to Palestinian parents, Mikdadi split her time growing up between Kuwait and Jerusalem. She attended college at the American University of Beirut, where she came to know many Lebanese artists. In 1968 Mikdadi curated her first show featuring Palestinians artists in Beirut. In 1972, Mikdadi left Beirut to study in the United States. The Israeli government did not permit her to return to Jerusalem so, upon completion of her studies, Mikdadi made her home in Berkeley, CA, and began working with Arab artists in the U.S. "For me as a Palestinian," she relates, "I felt it was necessary, a national duty, to conserve the Palestinian culture."

In 1988, Mikdadi founded one of the first initiatives to bring Arab art to American audiences. The Cultural and Visual Arts Resource/ICWA was a non-profit organization which organized symposiums, exhibitions, educational and visiting artists programs. Her research on Arab women artists resulted inForces of Change: Artists of the Arab World, the largest touring exhibition of Arab art in the U.S. She has also worked to raise the profile of Arab-American artists, curating and publishingIn/Visible: Contemporary Art by Arab Americans, the first exhibition and book on Arab-American artists. The 2005 exhibition coincided with the inauguration of the Arab American National Museum in Detroit.

Currently, Salwa Mikdadi is stationed in Jerusalem, working as a United Nations Development Programme consultant to the new art gallery Al-Hoash: The Palestinian Art Court. "There are no Palestinian museums for contemporary art," she explains. "What's important about Al-Hoash is that it enriches the lives of Palestinians, offering cultural and educational programs through art in a city they are being increasingly excluded from." The gallery is also the first step towards establishing a future Palestinian museum for contemporary art.

Though it faces tremendous challenges -- especially due to the international boycott and aid cutoffs following the election of the Hamas government -- Mikdadi is optimistic about Al-Hoash. "As a Palestinian I find the work very fulfilling," she says. "Although it's a very tense situation, it is also rewarding. There are many challenges - the boycott, the closures, trying to get the exhibitions to Gaza and the West Bank, but the community is very supportive. We have people from all walks of life visiting the Gallery; the response has been phenomenal. Art has always been an important aspect of Palestinian culture, a form of expression that has transcended all sectors of society."



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