“Beauty as Common Ground”

October 15, 2005
Oregonian: Portland, Oregon
“Beauty as Common Ground,”

by Nancy Haught, Religious Editor

“Each faith tradition has a strong history of ecumenical tolerance and of work on behalf of social justice, peace, and ecological stewardship,” says Portland artist Anne Barber-Shams, who conceived of the exhibit and recruited Kanaan and Shahna Lax, of Crestone Colorado, to take part. “We all share a conviction that reconciliation of the three traditions of the Abrahamic faiths is possible if we can embrace our common ground.”

Bits 'n' Pieces: Trio of North Bank artists partner for show

By Columbian Staff

Monday, March 29, 2010

Next month North Bank Artists Gallery in downtown Vancouver will highlight the work of three artists, James Torson, Suzy Kitman and Kanaan Kanaan, in a show titled “Recent Work Times Three.” The show runs April 1 to May 1. There will be an opening reception during First Friday Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m. April 2.

Newshour PBS

Palestinian Artist in Portland Encourages Cultural Conversation

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.

Bits 'n' Pieces

North Bank artist has solo show at Portland State

Kanaan Kanaan likes to use his art to highlight what different cultures and religions have in common. His latest exhibit is no exception.
In “Graceful Names,” the 45-year-old member of North Bank Artists Gallery in Vancouver presents 99 names and attributes of Allah, the Arabic word for God. They range from The Grateful (Ash-Shakoor in Arabic) to The All-Forgiving (Al-Ghafoor) to The Merciful (Ar-Raheem). Each has its own 4½-inch-by-4½-inch digital print, featuring words and designs. Kanaan used archival ink and paper for the prints.

"From the Atlantic to the Gulf," an exhibit that highlights the unity of those from the Middle East and underscores their contributions to this vast region, from the East Cost of the United States to the West Coast of Africa to the Arabian Gulf.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, "from the Atlantic to the Gulf?" The concept is broad and touches on several thoughts. This vast region indicates the many places that Middle Easterners have migrated to and shared their culture, from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. The image promotes one of Arab unity and symbolizes the Pan Arab Nationalist movement. For Kanaan, the phrase also poses the questions of what the price is of this exchange in terms of oil shipped around the world from the Middle East, the cost to humanity as a whole because of it, the resulting environmental impact, the result of seeking cheaper resources, war and its devastation, and much more.

For the first time -- and possibly the first time ever, anywhere -- styrofoam will be used as part of the exhibit but in a new format. Kanaan has melted styrofoam -- a petroleum-based product -- and then used it as a new medium by which to "glaze" his art. The use of styrofoam, albeit as a new compound, underscores how two worlds are brought together through petroleum and the many shapes and forms that partnership can take. Styrofoam also illicits thoughts of recycling, reuse (in its new format), waste in our lives as a symbol of consumption…and how despite thousands of miles between the Atlantic and the Arabian Gulf, that people are very much the same with similar interests and needs.

Page 3 of 6