Finding Common Ground in East Lansing

The Education Wing and Courtyard at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, MI. (Image Courtesy of the Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum)


Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates is the first and largest touring exhibition of Emirati art in the United States. Michiganders can find it on display at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on-campus at Michigan State University through October 18. This exhibition offers visitors perspective on the impact of rapid economic development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the rich heritage of the Emiratis, and the struggle to maintain a balance between seizing a bright future and honoring traditional roots.

As the UAE Embassy and Meridian considered host locations for this exhibition, Michigan continued to enter the conversation. The state is home to a bourgeoning Arab American diaspora, and it seemed like a place that would benefit from and draw meaningful connections by gaining a better understanding of the UAE’s national story. “Woven through this exhibition is a timeless story that resonates across cultures: preserving traditional values in a rapidly changing world,” explains Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States. Rapid changes have also impacted the economic and cultural landscape in Michigan. Through cultural diplomacy and public programming, Past Forward aims to build mutual respect and international cooperation among people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The Broad Art Museum has forged a space for questioning and understanding the modern world through art. Within East Lansing, the Broad is the perfect venue for conversations inspired by Past Forward. Join us for the Past Forward public reception and panel discussion – which will include artist Salama Nasib and co-curators Noor Al Suwaidi and Meridian’s Dr. Curtis Sandberg – at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 29, in the Education Wing of the Broad Art Museum.