MMEAN is an art network focused on the research and exhibition of marginalized works that communicate with, as, and between the Middle East. The goal is to provide a safe space for honest representations and limitless expression within restrictive environments.
When art is being rejected and pushed to the margins, how can we express the truth of our zeitgeist? There are many purposes to the exhibition of art in society, as we continue to develop ways of communicating through visual arts, we open dialogues and potentially impact our surroundings through them. But what about one of the primary purposes of art; serving as honest documentation of the state of a society and its people? and how have artists managed to provide an accurate narrative that would otherwise have been unknown to us?
It is said that the victors write our histories, and so in our countries, how can we truly know what people were feeling and thinking a mere century ago? Whether we look at the documentations of the early caveman’s paintings 40,000 years ago, the classical interpretation of the Malkakhian War in the 17th Century, or America’s feminist movement that began in the 60’s, it is undeniable that artists have managed to report and share that concerned society at the time, a trustworthy image that was honest because it was painted by the people themselves. This was often a different narrative from what was published and presented to the public by art institutions.
Furthermore, this has raised concerns in regards to marginalized and isolated artists, as well as their motives, abilities and capacity to create. Will artists continue to express and produce original works and statements despite the rejection of galleries and commercial spaces? Or do they give up on their ideas and focus on tailoring work for galleries and curators that are forced to abide by both unspoken and established perimeters?
Founded in 2015, MMEAN has focused on providing physical spaces to further develop, nurture, and confront issues in the landscape of Middle Eastern arts.