Panel Discussion

“Why Wax? How Encaustic Informs Our Art.”- Featuring artists Jeff Schaller, Cari Hernandez, and Kanaan Kanaan with moderator Andrea Benson.

Encaustic is an ancient art medium that is enjoying a resurgence as artists couple its historic roots with modern applications. Join the lively debate on the challenges and unique qualities of working in encaustic as Friday’s panel will discuss why they are drawn to the art medium.

The festival is June 25, 26, & 27, 2010 at Lakewood Center and George Rogers Park.

Art Opening

Colored Pencils  Art and Culture Night: Artists Reception


Multicultural Art Collection Opening; 15 artist from 15 different nationalities.
Curated by Kanaan Kanaan.

At Mid County Health Center
12710 SE Division Street; Portland, 97236-3134
Friday, Aug 27th 2010 






"Graceful Names," a month-long art exhibit at Portland State University, inviting attendees to contemplate similarities among us. A focus also is cast on the use of modern, contemporary technology to create art that sheds light on an ancient culture and region of the world.


Art exhibit opening: Thursday, Jan. 6, Exhibit continues through the month of January.
Artist reception: Thursday, Jan. 13, 5-7 PM
Contemporary Islamic Art lecture by Kanaan Kanaan: Friday, Jan. 21, 5-8 PM


Littman and White Galleries
Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway, Ste. #250
Portland, Ore. 97207
Gallery hours: 12-4 PM; free and open to the public


Two articles about the exhibit:
The Columbian Article
The Oregonian Article



"Graceful Names" marks the latest work from locally-based artist Kanaan Kanaan, known for his artistic celebration of culture and faith between East and West – a "crossing of the divide." This exhibit showcases the 99 names of Allah (God) in the form of tiles, each intricately detailed with rich, colorful designs.

Since immigrating to the United States in 1994 – a Palestinian from Jordan – Kanaan has sought to create peaceful and intellectual dialogue through his artwork about his native culture. Both the Middle East and Islam are greatly misunderstood; Kanaan’s ongoing goal is to tell the story of that part of the world through art, to reveal the beauty and contributions of the Middle East so that non-Middle Eastern, non-Muslim Americans better understand and appreciate the culture – and can open themselves to seeing the beauty within each of us.

In light of ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and recent events in Portland – Kanaan's work is vital, pertinent and so very needed. And perhaps central to this exhibit is the question, "What would Allah (God) think about today’s state of affairs?"

"Graceful Names" is co-sponsored by the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon; the Institute for Christian-Muslim Understanding; the Iraqi Society of Oregon; Middle East Studies Center, PSU; and Muslim Educational Trust.

"Ishlonak?" Art Exhibit


"Ishlonak?" - what is your color

Exhibit has been extended
April 1st- May 27th


OPB article





Artist talk:

"Ishlonak?"- the many colors of the Arab world.
April 22nd, 6:30 PM


North Bank Artists Gallery
1005 Main St. Vancouver, WA 98860




Invited artists:


Baba Wague
Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Farooq Hassan
LeRoy Goertz
Mufu Ahmed
Sarah Farahat
Shu-Ju Wang
Una Kim


Artist Statement








The Arabic phrase “Ishlonak” is widely used in many regions of the Arab world. Translated to English, it can be interpreted as “How are you?” Literally, however, it means, “What’s your color?”




My latest body of artwork – “Ishlonak?” – consists of nearly 250 mixed media tiles, 6”x6” in size, with Arabic letters in vibrant fields of color. Assembled together in a mosaic-like fashion, this contemporary installation of tiles resembles a rich landscape. Its collective beauty underscores the natural blending from one color to the next – how different, yet related, each color is to its neighboring color.




In asking “what’s your color” through ”Ishlonak?,” I have two objectives. I theoretically address differences – in race, religion, ideologies and social spectrums – through color, yet demonstrate how together, these tiles create a sense of wholeness, of reliance, and ultimately, of beauty.




As different as we are in color, we look beautiful together.




The use of Arabic in the exhibit also is important and represents my second objective. The language is expansive, spoken by approximately 300 million Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Arab world. It also is considered sacred; the Holy Koran is written in Arabic, so the language can be read, understood and spoken by another 1.3 billion Muslims around the globe – in Indonesia, Pakistan and India – among other countries. “Ishlonak?” represents differences in faith, culture, country and region with what is shared – language.








To see the process of creating “Ishlonak?,” watch my OPB/“Art Beat” segment at:





Abu Ghraib portraits catalyst for Linfield Frazee lecture


Acclaimed artist Daniel Heyman, whose recent work includes portraits of former Abu Ghraib detainees, will present the Frazee Lecture “Social Justice and Spirituality: The Journey from Art to Action,” Tuesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.

Traditionally, the Frazee Lecture has explored the interface of religion with other disciplines. This lecture will focus on art as spiritual endeavor and as a catalyst for change, according to David Massey, Linfield chaplain.

“Art has a long history of reflecting and defining our religious practices and can be a voice for social justice, calling us to see our common humanity,” he said.

Following the lecture, three respondents will provide additional perspective. Responders include Brian Winkenweder, Linfield associate professor of art history and visual culture, who will provide historic background; Kanaan Kanaan, instructor at Portland State University, who will discuss art in the Muslim community; and Janet Elfers, director of member relations at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, who will offer a contemporary Christian perspective.

The program is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Frazee Lecture in Bible and Religion, established by friends and family in honor of Gordon G. Frazee, who served Linfield for 32 years as chaplain and professor of religion. The fund is used to underwrite an annual lecture under the auspices of the Linfield Religious Studies Department. For more information, call 503-883-2259.

For more information click here

Art exhibit provokes compassion, sympathy for others

– April 8, 2011Posted in: Culture

Painter and printmaker Daniel Heyman, whose collection “Bearing Witness” is exhibited inside the Miller Fine Arts Center, emphasized the necessity of recognizing the humanity in those around us during the April 5 Frazee Lecture in Ice Auditorium.

“The job of an artist is to make it more difficult to deny the humanity of those we bomb and detain and abuse in the name of security,” Heyman said.
Heyman’s portraits profile Iraqis who were detained without charge and abused in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and are now plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit.
Heyman sat in on interviews between the detainees and human rights activists, drawing their portraits and including pieces of their story.
Each portrait weaves text and image to convey the experiences that the detainees went through at the hands of American
Heyman said the portraits are not intended to shock so much as to enlighten and “take the audience beyond the confusion of politics to a place where they can start the work of repairing the world.”
In his lecture, Heyman told the Biblical story of Lot and his wife, who live in a town full of abuse and suffering that is encouraged by the powerful and ignored by the rest of the world. When Lot and his wife try to flee, the wife looks back and is turned to salt. Lot gets revenge by setting the town on fire.
“The fire raced on and on and continues to race on today,” Heyman said. “Today’s story isn’t complete, however, and doesn’t have to end the way Lot’s did.”
He questioned alternative scenarios such as Lot, who seeks no revenge or roams on the Earth, mourning and bearing witness.
Janet Elfers, director of ecumenical and interfaith relations and a panelist at the Frazee Lecture, said that Heyman’s portraits reclaim their subjects’ humanity and let them tell their story. She approached the subject of Abu Ghraib prison from a Christian perspective, calling for the need to educate and advocate to end American-supported torture.
“Torture is a moral issue,” she said. “It is important for us to seek justice … for tortures committed in our name.”
Artist and professor Kanaan Kanaan, the second panelist, held a differing perspective but agreed that Heyman’s portraits had a powerful impact. Khanan grew up in Jordan and lived in Iraq.
“I’ve been there,” he said. “I’ve felt the heat of bombs, of shrapnel whizzing past my head. When I saw [Heyman’s] work, I couldn’t see it again because the words were too powerful.”
Khanan spoke about the disconnect in America that separates his citizens from events overseas.
“We in America are so distant, so far away,” he said. “We don’t even know what poverty means.”
He said that it is time for Americans to educate ourselves, learn more and do more. He spoke of the need for more cultural exchange programs, diversified news sources and more artwork such as Heyman’s.
“We are not monsters,” he said, referring to the people of his homeland. “We want to tell our stories.”
Brian Winkenweder, department chair and associate professor of art and visual culture, was the final panelist of the night, and he spoke about the “epiphany of the face,” a theory proposed by philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas’ theory says that when we look into someone’s eyes, we have three thoughts: our mutual mortality, an awareness of our ethics and the trust that neither will try to kill the other.
Heyman’s portraits allow viewers to experience an “epiphany of the face,” Winkenweder said, by making eye contact with the portrait subject and the viewers.
“‘Epiphany of the Face’ allows you to see yourself in the others and witness your shared humanity,” he said.
He said torture has a dehumanizing effect on all of us but that Heyman’s work is helping.
The exhibit, “Bearing Witness,” will be on display at the Linfield Gallery in the Miller Fine Arts Center from April 2 to 30.

Rachel Mills/For the Review
Rachel Mills can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Read Original article here.

Encaustic Masters


Kanaan Kanaan as part of Encaustic Masters: Inspirational Voices at Columbia River Gallery Troutdale.

Opening Reception: September 22, 2011 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.. Reception for First Friday Art Walk on October 7, 2011

Kanaan will also present a lecture entitled "Artistic Dialogue: Collaborate, Connect"

September 23, 2011, 11:30 – 12:00 -  Edgefield Manor

Presentation Topic: "An Artistic Dialogue: Collaborate, Connect"

Exhibition Dates: September 22 through October 12, 2011


Jerry Gay, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and artist

Gavin Shettler, Creative Director of Milepost 5, artist community & gallery

Lee Weinstein, Columbia Gorge Arts & Culture Alliance


'IDENTITY' Art Exhibit

The Hamersly Library cordially invites you to the spring 2012 exhibits and event exploring Cultural Identity.  The exhibits begin on Monday, April 9th and a performance installation will be held on Wednesday, May 16, 2012.  Read more below.
These exhibit funded, in part, by the Polk County Cultural Coalition.

The 2011-2012 Hamersly Library exhibits theme is Identity.  The exhibits featured this year will explore the characteristics that determine who we are.  Our individual experiences, the communities we live in, and our culture all play a significant role in establishing our identity.
In spring we are looking at cultural identity.  Two international artists are exhibiting separately and joining together for a performance piece to explore similarities and differences to open a dialogue among cultures.

Kanaan Kanaan Palestinian Artist, Portland, OR
April 9 - June 15, 2012
Born and raised in Amman, Jordan in a Palestinian refugee camp, Kanaan is an artist by training, studying at the College of Fine Arts at Baghdad University prior to immigrating to the U.S. in 1994. Currently he works in the International Studies Department at Portland State University and continues to produce art. Kanaan’s artwork is a continuation of his personal belief in using art to reach out to others, to heal and make connections. It focuses on creating intelligent and thoughtful dialogue about similarities and differences of culture, language, tradition and faith. Through his art, Kanaan hopes to create peaceful and intellectual dialogue about his native culture and faith.

Michele Feder-Nadoff Jewish Artist, Chicago, IL
April 9 - May 28, 2012
Born in Chicago, Illinois, she lives and works both there and in Mexico. In 2010 she received a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Fellowship for research in Mexico for a coppersmithing project in Santa Clara del Cobre. Feder-Nadoff has spent numerous visits with traditional coppersmiths of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico for research and community organizing initiatives on behalf of the nonprofit Cuentos Foundation, which she founded in 1998 with other artists and community activists.
Her works take on numerous forms including paper, metal, clay, wood, fiber and combining several in mixed media works.  Currently she has returned to Mexico to begin her doctoral studies.

Passing A Performance by Michele Feder-Nadoff & Kanaan Kanaan
Wednesday, May 16, 2012,  begining at 9:00 a.m.
Reception for the artist:  4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Michele Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan, known as menucha-kanaan,
as a Jew and a Muslim:

we grew up having prayers for everything – for the rain
the thunder,
he sun rising,
for the wind,
the rainbow, and the washing of hands,
for death and birth.

Our work is like building a house and sweeping
its floor together.

Passing, a durational performance by artists Michele Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan, is part of a series of collaborative works begun in 2001
as a response to on-going Middle East conflict and worldwide strife. Illuminated by their personal experiences of diasporas based on their respective Jewish and Muslim traditions, together they have created works that explore and symbolize the struggle and desire to maintain hope through trust.

A printable flyer is available at this link.

Art Beat TV show

You may find him sewing, painting, working with wax or making tiles which are not tiles at all. Kanaan Kanaan’s colorful art exudes a cultural pride and carries a purpose: to encourage different cultures to open up and talk.

This program is going to be re-run on August 26th, 8PM on Art Beat, OPB TV.

First Broadcast: March 25th, 2010
Producer: Vince Patton
Videographer: Tom Shrider
Editor: Lisa Suinn Kallem

Appeared in episode: Kanaan Kanaan, Painter Jennifer Mercede


Kanaan Kanaan on Art and Diversity

Submitted by Kathleen Stephenson on Wed, 02/03/2010 - 5:45pm

Categories: Culture/Arts Program date: Wed, 02/03/2010Program: Political Perspectives

Host Kathleen Stephenson interviews local artist Kanaan Kanaan, a native of Palestine now living and working in Portland. He will address the impact of cultural diversity in art in “From the Middle East to America: A Journey in Personal Artistic Expression,” a free seminar hosted by Portland State University and the PSU Art Department Diversity Committee on Tuesday, February 9th, at 6pm in the

Download audio file

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