"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?"